HARTFORD — In 1918, the year “The Ostrich-Feather Hat” in the collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum was painted, the family of Henri Matisse (1869-1954) was in disarray.
Paris was under threat from advancing Germans. Matisse’s mother was behind enemy lines in his home town of Bohain.
His wife, Amelie, was in their home on the outskirts of Paris, preparing to evacuate.
His elder son, Jean, was serving as a mechanic in the reeling French army. His younger son, Pierre, was counting the days until he was old enough to enlist. The day came, from his heartsick father’s point of view, all too soon.
And what of Marguerite, his beloved daughter from an earlier relationship, his stalwart assistant, his model, his confidante?
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