Part of the
exhibition

CHAGALL, PICASSO, MONDRIAN and others Migrant Artists in Paris

21 Sep 2019 until 2 Feb 2020

Longread — 9 Feb 2020

Chagall, Picasso, Mondrian and Others: Migrant Artists in Paris, showing at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, focuses largely on artistic success stories. This article shows the other side of the coin, presenting the story of a forgotten migrant artist: the first Dutch student of French painter Henri Matisse.

Her name was Beatrice, or Bé, de Waard, and she attended the Académie Matisse in Paris in 1909. In 2015 I revealed her identity in a blog post (in Dutch) written in response to the Stedelijk Museum’s The Oasis of Matisse exhibition. This article presents photographs of the artist and her work for the first time. It focuses on her position in cultural life, as part of what is sometimes known as a collective biography. This collective biography recounts the lives of female immigrant artists in Paris in the early 20th century. Though their ranks grew steadily, there are relatively few famous female artists from that period. Why is this? Or did they in fact exist, and is it simply a matter of searching for them in a different and better way? 

In 1909 Matisse organized a musical soiree at his studio. In 1951 his pupil Max Weber recalled that evening: ‘Mlle. Deward, a young Dutch pianist and a member of the [painting] class [of Matisse], played several piano selections’1. For a long time, this was the only indication that Matisse had had a Dutch student in the early 20th century. Those who knew her described her as very attractive. Does this mean she was a muse, a source of inspiration for artists and writers? Her story tells us that her role in the circle of German writers and intellectuals with whom she associated was mainly that of a fellow intellectual and a person who knew how to get things done. De Waard’s extensive correspondence, which continued to her final years, when she was poor, lonely and ill, reveals how difficult life was for a needy elderly artist in 1950s Paris. 

Matisse and students, Académie Matisse, 1909, photo: Archives Matisse
Matisse and students, Académie Matisse, 1909, photo: Archives Matisse

The Dutch student

Weber wrote the name of the only Dutch student in Matisse’s painting class using a non-Dutch spelling, Deward. In 2014, passages from a letter written by Hungarian painter and Matisse student Géza Bornemisza were published. That letter mentions fellow students’ names, and includes the remark ‘I remember Bé de Ward, a pretty Dutch girl’2. De Ward is not a typical Dutch name either. The Archives Matisse have a letter dated 21 November 1909 from ‘B. de Waard’ to Matisse, informing him that she has moved to Berlin with her fiancé and regrets she will no longer be able to enjoy the benefit of Matisse’s instruction. During an online search, I found a mention of a landscape by Beatrice de Waard on an auction site, a composition executed in ink, with no further information. I wondered whether Bé de Ward might in fact be the same person as B. de Waard and Beatrice de Waard. The solution to the mystery was concealed in the 380 pages of correspondence that Beatrice de Waard wrote from her home in Paris and other locations in France to her friends Karl Polanyi and Ilona Duczyńska in New York and Pickering, Canada, between 1948 and 1961. Her letters can be accessed online in the Karl Polanyi Digital Archive under the title: ‘Correspondence Karl Polanyi – Beatrice de Waard, 1948-1961’3. Polanyi was a Hungarian economic historian. His wife, Polish-Hungarian Ilona Duczyńska, was an engineer, journalist and historian. These largely undated letters, signed ‘Bé’ or ‘Be’, written in English and German, frequently discuss fundamental socio-political issues, literature, and painting. She always writes spontaneous thoughts, alternating with subjects like her heart condition, her loneliness, and her financial problems.

In one of her letters she wrote: ‘Karl, in haste: for goodness’ sake, no exhibition etc. and mention of the Matisse school, foreword, etc. No, none of that. In a great hurry, I gave Otto 6 or 7 paintings, only 2 of which may go on public display of any kind’4. In another letter, we read: ‘My dear Karl, The M.[ax] W.[eber] book is very funny of course. My role in the whole was only my being so touched by your tone [?] (as to the painter M.[ax] W.[eber] himself, he had been for 40 years out of my mind, was never very much in it (this don’t tell him) except – on the very day your card came afterwards!). As to my image in the Matisse-atelier, it may have been like that – but under what burdens and loadings of misunderstanding. Where was I? And, no[w], no[w], surely you did not reveal your Max Weber’s heritage […] to me. But how much I would like to hear’5. These two passages are difficult to decipher and somewhat cryptic, but they certainly establish that Bé de Waard studied with Matisse at the same time as Max Weber.

Erich Unglaub’s Rilke research revealed her full name, based on documents in Munich’s Stadtarchiv. The Hague city council’s population register gives a slightly longer name: Engelbertha Hélène Louise de Waard, born on 19 June 1885 in The Hague, the daughter of pastor Sietze de Waard and his wife Eveline Mathilda Backer. Engelbertha – not a name that would get one far in the world, which is probably why she went by the name Beatrice – was a painter. She grew up in The Hague and Huis ter Heide in Utrecht province, without any professional training, as she herself said. De Waard remembered writing to Polanyi as early as ‘around 1910’.6

Her name first appears on 6 - 9 January 1909, in a letter from the Hungarian essayist, art critic and painter Leó Popper to the famous Hungarian Marxist philosopher and literary critic Georg Lukács, a close friend of Popper’s. Popper gives the address 225, rue St. Jacques, Paris.7 Bé de Waard became engaged to Popper in January 1909.

How did she meet Leó Popper? How did she, a woman from the Netherlands, end up in the class of Henri Matisse, one of the most avant-garde painters of the time? We do not know, but Académie Matisse in Paris was indeed a magnet for foreign art students. 

Académie Matisse

The story of Académie Matisse began in 1907. Friends of Matisse who also painted, and received his informal guidance from time to time, including wealthy Americans Sarah and Leo Stein who had lived in Paris since 1903, inquired whether Matisse would like to begin a painting class. He agreed to the proposal. The founders of the class, who included Sarah Stein and the German painter Hans Purrmann, rented a space, at first – briefly – in the Couvent des Oiseaux and later in the Couvent du Sacré Coeur, both former cloisters in Paris. The Sacré Coeur building that housed the class, as well as Matisse’s studio and family home, was in the grounds of hôtel Biron (now Musée Rodin), a grand 18th-century house with a formal garden. It was one of the many cloisters that had been secularised by the French state (Matisse’s studio and classroom were in the former refectory, separated by a curtain).

Matisse came once a week to assess his students’ work and offer his expertise, as was customary at the many private academies in Paris. They were in fact nothing more than classrooms where students could draw from life and where an artist (or aspiring artist) acted as massier or massière, with responsibility for arranging the facilities. Sometimes, the owner was a former painter’s model. Initially students could attend free of charge, according to Weber, though later they were asked to pay a small sum. We do not know how much, but with Sarah Stein as a co-founder, women will not have been required to pay double, as was common. Just why this was the case is not known. It may have been because female art students often came from middle-class families and were thus able to pay more.8 There were thousands of art students in Paris, many of them foreigners. The female students – whose ranks grew steadily – found opportunities to develop there that they did not generally have in their own country. They were for example often barred from life drawing classes back home.

Weber wrote that the members of the group – professional painters, art students and art lovers – were always very nervous as Matisse’s visits approached, but were also delighted and proud to have his help.9 For the first few months, Matisse only allowed new students to draw. He would permit them to paint only when they had demonstrated a mastery of the basics. Little by little, Académie Matisse, as it came to be known, attracted all kinds of young painters eager to scramble up the modern art career ladder. By this point, however, Matisse had had enough and, in the summer of 1909, he stopped teaching. The Académie continued without him until the summer of 1911. Weber also maintained that many of the female students had been admitted mainly because of their looks, and had little talent. 

Bé’s fiancé Leó Popper wrote from Paris in 1908 of Matisse and his much-discussed theoretical treatise ‘Notes d’un peintre’ (‘Notes of a Painter’), published that year, which he had read in the journal La Grande Revue. He also reported to Lukács between early October and mid-November that he had met Jóska (József) Bató, a student of Matisse.10 Matisse’s student Géza Bornemisza continued after recalling ‘Bé de Ward, a beautiful Dutch girl’ with ‘and Edward [sic, Eduard] Witte (Vienna), whom I brought into the school’.  This might mean that he introduced either Witte or Witte and De Waard to Matisse’s class. Popper is known to have produced a number of sketches of nudes in a simplified Matisse-like style, but there is no evidence to confirm that he was one of the artist’s students.11 In his interesting article on the Steins and the young Hungarian painters in Paris Gergely Barki described Max Weber as a key intermediary between the two groups. Weber lived in a complex where four Hungarian painters also lived, and he was in contact with another Hungarian painter, Béla Czóbel. Several students of Académie Matisse, some of them Hungarian, knew each other from Académie de la Grande-Chaumière and Académie Colarossi, which also admitted students free of charge. Bé may have met Leó Popper and learned of Académie Matisse through one of these channels.

Mária Székely of Lukács Archivum supplied me with a photograph of De Waard taken during her engagement. It is taken at an oblique angle from behind, and does not therefore allow a definite identification of Matisse’s only Dutch student. However, I received a much later photograph of her from a French private collection, and this confirms that she is seated fourth from the right in the front row. 

What led her to become a painter? Her letters indicate that she did not at any rate grow up in a parochial provincial setting. As a child she liked to draw, read and play music, and in 1910 she took her Hungarian friends to stay at her parents’ home in Huis ter Heide. On Bé’s recommendation her mother read the celebrated German poet and novelist Rainer Maria Rilke. Her parents also took several trips abroad between 1911 and 1914, taking their daughter on some of them. They travelled to Switzerland, for example, where they stayed for some time to alleviate her respiratory problems, an affliction her father also suffered from, and also to Paris, where she arranged accommodation for all three of them. De Waard’s background was that of the typical middle-class female art student in Paris.12

Bé de Waard, 1909-1911, photo from the estate of her fiancé Leó Popper,  MTA Lukács Archívum, Budapest.
Bé de Waard, 1909-1911, photo from the estate of her fiancé Leó Popper, MTA Lukács Archívum, Budapest.
Bé de Waard at Ker Xavier Roussel’s studio, L’Étang-la-Ville, early 1930s, private collection.
Bé de Waard at Ker Xavier Roussel’s studio, L’Étang-la-Ville, early 1930s, private collection.

De Waard on Matisse

In her letters to Polanyi and Duczyńska De Waard made only one further mention of Matisse. Again, it was a somewhat enigmatic reference. She spoke of the ‘craft aspect of creative production’: ‘The prehistoric drawing was material. But Matisse, for example, not. The cave paintings were métier.’ Her comparison of Matisse with prehistoric art echoes the interests of Polanyi, who conducted research into primitive cultures, though his main interest was trade. The fact that De Waard barely mentions Matisse is somewhat remarkable, all the more so because she alludes to his contemporary, Picasso, with far more frequency. Were they perhaps more interested in Picasso because of his communist sympathies? She always defended Picasso from bourgeois critics not so much, she said,  because of his work, but because she considered him not bourgeois, though his ‘communism’ had, she felt, ‘a certain naïve simplicity’.13 Matisse had more of an air of the professorial bourgeois gentleman. Her comment on Picasso’s political sympathies appears to reflect the influence of Popper and Lukács, who introduced a Hungarian social and historical perspective of art history.

De Waard’s comment, cited above, about her ‘image in the Matisse-atelier’ and the ‘burdens and loadings of misunderstanding’ in no way imply that she felt misunderstood by Matisse. In her letter to the artist dated 1909, she not only writes that she misses his tuition but also: ‘I know that in my work, there was little evidence that I understood and followed (what you said), […] in any case, I feel that this set me in motion forever’.14  She had self-awareness and wit. After noting that she and her fiancé moved to Berlin primarily for the music (Popper had studied at the art academy and the music school), that she now played the piano more than she painted, and inquiring whether she might show Matisse her work again when she next came to Paris, she observed: ‘The last few times I played for you, I had reached the end of my repertoire and perhaps your piano will not close if I want to remedy that fiasco?’15 In De Waard’s letter, her admiration for the work of Matisse is largely expressed in the comment that she saw so much in ‘the wonderful museums’ of Berlin and that ‘everything pointed me in the direction of your paintings’; she was able to ‘connect them with the grandest and greatest laws of painting’ – which is precisely what, according to Max Weber and others, Matisse taught.16

De Waard in Germany

Leó Popper died of tuberculosis in 1911. Polanyi argued with Lukács, who apparently had not kept his promise to arrange a scholarship for Bé. There is evidence that in 1912 Bé had a relationship with Polanyi, who was living in Budapest at the time, but that the feelings were mostly on her side. She complained that she heard nothing from him, and in winter 1914 Polanyi informed his brother Michael that during his last visit to her he had ended the relationship and that she had taken it well.17 

In 1915-1917 Bé attended literary gatherings in Munich, at the home of Austrian cultural philosopher and author Rudolf Kassner. Author Erich von Kahler of Prague was also present. He later wrote a sympathetic description of her: ‘Let us not forget in Kassner’s circle our friend Be de Waard, the Dutch painter, slender yet rounded – pleasantly rounded, including her sweet, Dutch, rosy-white and blue-eyed face. She moved so beautifully, so freely and elegantly, as if surrounded by a sea breeze; and her presence was just as warm and spiritually sensitive as her painting’.18 A handwritten dedication from Rilke to De Waard on a manuscript dating from 1920 intriguingly states: ‘The author respectfully dedicates this copy of his modest manuscript to Madame de Waard, in recollection of the joyous yet fatal parallelism of events’. 19

Bé de Waard, 'Portrait of a Woman', date unknown, oil on canvas, private collection.
Bé de Waard, ''Portrait of a Woman', date unknown, oil on canvas, private collection.

She was popular among the early 20th-century cultural elite in Munich for her grace, her bright mind and humour, which had a dark, melancholy undertone, as Fine von Kahler put it. Erich von Kahler described their contact as ‘ironic and comradely’, with ‘a sprinkling of comradely human depth’. Compared with another female friend of his, Lilli, the former went better with Lilli than with Bé, and the latter less well. Lilli had ‘more French agility and a well-developed bright consciousness, but as far as I have seen, not so much independent or wise and lonely experience as Be. How one is to fall in love with her, however, is just as incomprehensible as with Be – but what matter?’ Thus far, German painter and literary scholar Friedrich Gundolf’s remark that a portrait painted by De Waard resembled a ‘Jewish student in bad humour’, is the only known comment on her work, alongside Erich von Kahler’s remark, quoted above, about the warm and spiritually sensitive nature of it.

She was popular among the early 20th-century cultural elite in Munich for her grace, her bright mind and humour, which had a dark, melancholy undertone, as Fine von Kahler put it.20 Erich von Kahler described their contact as ‘ironic and comradely’, with ‘a sprinkling of comradely human depth’. Compared with another female friend of his, Lilli, the former went better with Lilli than with Bé, and the latter less well. Lilli had ‘more French agility and a well-developed bright consciousness, but as far as I have seen, not so much independent or wise and lonely experience as Be. How one is to fall in love with her, however, is just as incomprehensible as with Be – but what matter?’21

Thus far, German painter and literary scholar Friedrich Gundolf’s remark that a portrait painted by De Waard resembled a ‘Jewish student in bad humour’, is the only known comment on her work, alongside Erich von Kahler’s remark, quoted above, about the warm and spiritually sensitive nature of it.22

As far as we know, she was never a subject for writers or artists, with the exception of a lost portrait sketched by French painter Ker-Xavier Roussel. In that sense, she was not really a muse.23 The letters written by her friends in Germany portray De Waard as someone who read their literary and scholarly publications, participated fully in discussions, whose judgment was respected and who arranged and mediated matters. Rilke, for example, wrote to his friend Lou Andreas-Salomé that Bé ‘in her strictness’ rightly criticised a mystical, transcendental passage he had written.24 Although Bé was the daughter of a pastor she was sceptical of anything that hinted at mysticism and the transcendental, in keeping with the views of her Marxist friends Lukács and Polanyi. It appears quite dogmatic to us that, partly for this reason, she expressed a negative view of the work of Franz Marc after Rilke had spoken admiringly of it. Rilke did not say precisely what her criticism was, but he wrote that he respected her judgment, and that in this respect it had caused him some doubts.25

This all suggests that she was an educated, cultured and independent woman, probably like most foreign female art students, and that she could express herself well in French and German.

What became of Bé de Waard?

Having lost her fiancé Leó Popper to illness, De Waard never married. After her time in Germany, she lived for several years in L’Étang-la-Ville, near Paris, at the home of Ker-Xavier Roussel, who continued working in the tradition of Gauguin’s Pont Aven school of painting. Roussel was married to his friend Edouard Vuillard’s sister Marie. Bé first met Roussel in Switzerland in 1916, when on a trip with her mother.26 In March that year Roussel had been commissioned to decorate wall panels for the stairwell of the new Kunstmuseum in Winterthur, Switzerland. We know nothing about their first encounter (Roussel did not leave any memoires), but apart from the fact that their personalities clicked, he might well have thought he could use her services as an assistant on his monumental commissions, for which he had to paint many large panels. Bé went to live in L’Étang-la-Ville at 5, ruelle de la Coulette. She remained there for some 28 years, with a number of short breaks, until Roussel’s death in 1944; ‘her presence always felt, always there’ and yet ‘we know little of her’, says Nicolas Langlois, Roussel’s great-grandson.27 Roussel may have used her as a model for the many allegorical female figures in his paintings, which would make her a muse. When she went to live in Paris again after Roussel’s death, she kept in touch with his son Jacques and his family. 

Though Bé never gained a reputation as a painter, this does not mean that her work was not appreciated during her lifetime. As we have seen (note 4), her good friend Otto Mandl sometimes sold her paintings.

Bé de Waard, 'View on L’Étang-la-Ville from the ruelle de la Coulette)', date unknown, oil on canvas, private collection. Annotation lower right: À Jacques et Marie juin (illegible: 1953?) très affectueusement de Bé (across another inscription).
Bé de Waard, 'View on L’Étang-la-Ville from the ruelle de la Coulette)', date unknown, oil on canvas, private collection. Annotation lower right: À Jacques et Marie juin (illegible: 1953?) très affectueusement de Bé (across another inscription).

Although later, in her letters to Polanyi and Duczyńska, she repeatedly dismissed any suggestion of exhibiting her work, regarding only some of it as worthy of public display, she stood behind it wholeheartedly. She wrote, ‘There must have been good moments and periods between the wars. I found some of my paintings: the gesture was broad, the execution adapted to this, and original, the vision free and pure’.28

Work by De Waard from the period between the wars that I have seen in private collections is traditional and naturalistic. Her motifs are also traditional: flowers, portraits, a still life with pears, a view of a village. In some respects it is accomplished, with sweeping brushwork, but the standard is no more than average. It does not, for example, attain the level of the group of female artists who studied at the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam in the late 19th century, who became known as the ‘Amsterdamse Joffers’. If we do not judge from a linear modernist perspective, the ‘joffers’ did indeed produce work of remarkable quality.

 Bé de Waard, 'Still Life with Flowers', date unknown, oil on paper, mounted on panel, private collection.
Bé de Waard, 'Still Life with Flowers', date unknown, oil on paper, mounted on panel, private collection.

De Waard appears to have been influenced by the traditionalism and realism of the retour à l’ordre in painting between the wars. Her paintings are a late-impressionist variation on 19th-century naturalism. Bé may have been guided by the teaching of Matisse, who said, ‘I like Chardin’s statement, “I apply colour until it starts to resemble something” and also that of Rodin, “copy nature”. […] And even if he does not do so, he [the artist] must remain convinced that this is only to depict it [nature] more completely’. This was clearly a factor in De Waard’s criticism of Franz Marc’s expressionism and the sculptural deformations in the work of sculptor Henri Laurens, who used to be her neighbour in L’Étang-la-Ville. She wrote that she was unable to understand why artists always ‘flee the […] human form’, by which she meant naturalistic form.29

It is uncertain whether De Waard depended entirely on her art for a living. The paintings by Roussel that she owned and the remark that Laurens once lived ‘next door to us [my italics]’ suggest otherwise. Her comment that Jacques Roussel caused her many problems with his ‘irregularities in the “salary”’, suggests that she still received some form of payment from the Roussel family even after Ker Xavier Roussel’s death.30 Her letters do not contain any evidence of contact with other artists, apart from Leó Popper and Ker Xavier Roussel.

Bé de Waard, 'Still Life with Pears', date unknown, oil on canvas, private collection.
Bé de Waard, 'Still Life with Pears', date unknown, oil on canvas, private collection.

The paintings by De Waard shown here are modest and unremarkable in terms of their style, format and genre. Her reservations about her work might explain why her ambition was limited. But her modest status was probably not only a matter of talent and ambition. Like many other women, De Waard suffered the disadvantage of having had no preliminary training in art, and having received only a short period of instruction, in her case from Matisse. Historian Siân Reynolds cited the lack of training as one of the general factors explaining the fact that there are so few famous female artists from that period. Male immigrant art students in Paris, many of whom had already sketched nudes at life drawing classes, thus had a headstart on women, who were not generally admitted to nude drawing classes outside Paris. These men were thus able to try out their own style sooner. In this connection, Reynolds also highlighted the male and female role patterns in society at that time. She quoted a British female migrant artist, who said, ‘When a male artist marries he acquires a housekeeper, a model, a brush-washer and perhaps a publicity agent. When a woman artist marries, with rare exceptions, she perishes as an artist, gradually and perhaps painlessly.’31

The more that is published about female artists, the more we become aware of bodies of work and careers that defied these patterns. Back in the 18th century Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun managed to continue her glittering career as a painter after her marriage while her husband, who was less successful as a painter, became an art expert and dealer. Dutch artist Suze Robertson, married to Richard Bisschop, painter of church interiors, became the breadwinner in the early 20th century, enjoying more success as a painter than her husband. Generally speaking, however, female artists undoubtedly had a more difficult time of things than their male counterparts because of the traditional roles in marriage. It was not for nothing that Dutch painter Fine Warburg assumed the male artist’s name Nicolaas Warb in Paris during the Second Worldwar. She did so, as she put it, to be taken more seriously by French art critics (and also because her own name sounded German, which could lead to problems in Paris at that time).32 Robertson and Warb were both greatly admired as artists in the world of modern art in the Netherlands and France, respectively.

In old age, living mainly in Paris, De Waard wrote of her financial situation: ‘All the prices are “adapted” […] So it is especially the smallerest [sic] people, and artists also mostly, who are absolutely torn bare. Painters change their métier. I am too old for this […] of course.’33 Her home was a wreck, the walls unpainted. It was also dark, so she could not work in colour, she noted. Bé was at the mercy of rapacious landlords, and was occasionally forced to move; she also spent time at several temporary abodes. Nevertheless, she retained her sense of humour deep into old age. A description of a brief stay in hospital for observation after a fall is accompanied by a stave of music, an allusion to the ambulance siren. And because she lost a considerable amount of weight, she wrote: ‘I […] am like a Bernard Buffet’ (painter of emaciated figures).34

Bé de Waard, 'Landscape', date unknown, ink, washed, on paper, private collection.
Bé de Waard, 'Landscape', date unknown, ink, washed, on paper, private collection.

Old friends came by to visit now and then: ‘[Wilhelm] Hausenstein was here too, the German ambassador, [cultural historian, author of a much-discussed book on Paul Klee and friend of Rilke] now returning back to Munich which I deplore, for we were good friends.’35 She sporadically saw two former friends of Rilke’s who lived in the area.36 The person who did most for her, and was frequently mentioned in her letters to Polanyi, was Otto Mandl.37 In every letter, she made a note of what she was currently reading: Flaubert, the correspondence of the painter Delacroix, Rilke, Sartre, the diary of Anne Frank. Sometimes she was reminded of better times: ‘Awakening and looking at the little Jongkind that hangs above the sofa. If you remember it: the lovely watercolour by the Impressionist Dutch painter given to me by [Ker Xavier] Roussel. […] Roussel took it down from the wall when I said it was my birthday’.38 In 1961, her correspondence ends. Her friends Polanyi and Duczyńska were still alive then. Bé de Waard is believed to have died in or near Paris between 1961 and 1963. It is said there was an accident involving fire, which also destroyed her art.39 If Polanyi and Duczyńska had not kept her letters, this remarkable story would probably have been lost too.

Bé de Waard wrote of her paintings that they should not ‘be forgotten or […] neglected, that is all I wish to say’.40 This is the first time they have received any publicity, but they were not included in Migrants in Paris for a number of reasons: because the exhibition features work from the museum’s own collection, plus a small number of works on loan from Dutch public collections, and because De Waard’s paintings did not fit into the themes explored in the different galleries. Furthermore, it is not clear that showing her paintings alongside leading works of modern art would really be to her advantage. Sometimes it is interesting to show works that are not masterpieces of modern art for other good reasons, such as a desire to recount other cultural and artistic narratives. In De Waard’s case, this might be the fact that she was a student of Matisse, or that she opted for naturalism perhaps because of a social engagement tinged with communist sympathies. Bé probably also wanted to produce work for as big an audience as possible for commercial reasons. She made art of the kind that the public already had hanging in their homes, that they could grow fond of, and which they probably would not wish to swap for any modern museum piece.  

Many thanks to the late Wanda de Guébriant (Archives Matisse), Georges Matisse, Jacques Roussel, Nicolas Langlois de Bazillac and Mária Székely (Lukács Archívum) for their generous assistance, and to Prof. Erich Unglaub, without whose great expertise I would not have been able to expand on the blog post on which this article is based. Thanks also to Claudia Küssel for her translations of the Hungarian, and to Ana Gomez (Karl Polanyi Institute of Political Economy, Concordia University). This essay is translated from the Dutch by Sue McDonnell.

The exhibition Chagall, Picasso, Mondrian an others: Migrant Artist in Paris ran until February 2, 2020.

1. Max Weber Speech on His Class with Henri Matisse, 1951, Research collections, Image and Media Gallery, Smithsonian Archives of American Art, http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/items/detail/max-weber-speech-his-class-henri-matisse-15702, pp. 15-16.
2. Letter from Géza Bornemisza to Béla Horváth, 24 September 1962, Béla Horvath’s art history legacy, RCH-HAS-IAH, Archive, Item No: MDK-C-I-217, quoted in: Gergely Barki, ‘The Steins and the Hungarians’, RIHA Journal 0090 | 22 May 2014.
3. ‘Correspondence Karl Polanyi – Beatrice de Waard, 1948-1961’, Karl Polanyi Institute of Political Economy, Concordia University, Montreal, http://kpolanyi.scoolaid.net:8080/xmlui/handle/10694/232.
4. Id., p. 21. Otto is Otto Mandl, an Austrian doctor of philosophy and former mining engineer, who travelled the world as the impressario of his wife, Hungarian concert pianist Lili Kraus. De Waard met him through her fiancé Leó Popper and friend Georg Lukács. See De Waard to Lukács, Berlin, 9 February 1910, and Lukács to de Waard, 28 May 1910, in: Dialógus a müvészetröl. Popper Leó írá sai. Popper Leó és Lukács György levelezése, [Budapest] 1993, pp. 329, 343. Mandl also organised commercial art exhibitions and sold paintings by De Waard. See ‘Correspondence Karl Polanyi – Beatrice de Waard’, including pp. 311-312. In 1940 Mandl and Kraus moved to Amsterdam when Vienna became too dangerous for Jews. From there, they embarked on a world tour.
5. De Waard to Polanyi, in ‘Correspondence’, op.cit. (note 3), p. 167.
6. Erich Unglaub, ‘“Ich betrachte das blassblaue Papier”. Zu einem Brief von Rainer Maria Rilke an Wilhelm Hausenstein’, Neohelicon, 24 (1997), 1, pp. 267-301, on De Waard et al. note 75, 87, 126, 129, 134, 137-139, 141. Haags Gemeentearchief, The Hague, file 2373. De Waard to Duczyńska, in ‘Correspondence’, op.cit. (note 3), pp. 210-211, 294.
7. Dialógus a müvészetröl, op. cit. (note 4), pp. 256-257. German translation in: Georg Lukács: Briefwechsel 1902-1917. Herausgegeben von Ëva Karádi und Éva Fekete, Stuttgart 1982, pp. 52-54.
8. Siân Reynolds, ‘Running Away to Paris: Expatriate Women Artists of the 1900 Generation, from Scotland and Points South’, Women’s History Review 9 (2000), no. 2, p. 333.
9. Id., pp. 8-9.
10. Popper to Lukács, early October – mid-November 1908, in: Dialógus, op. cit. (note 4), pp. 250, 252, note 3.
11. Id. For Popper’s Matisse-like drawings, see: Barki, ‘The Steins and the Hungarians’, 2014, p. 431.
12. Dialógus, pp. 338, 343, 351, 354, 389, 413, 417-419, 421.
13. De Waard to Polanyi, in ‘Correspondence’, p. 335.
14. De Waard to Henri Matisse, 21 November 1909, Archives Matisse.
15. Ibid.
16. Ibid.
17. Gareth Dale, Karl Polanyi: A Life on the Left, New York 2016, p. 43.
18. Erich von Kahler, ‘Versuch der Erinnerung’, in: Alphons Clemens Kensik and David Bodmer (ed.), Rudolf Kassner zum achtzigsten Geburtstag, Gedenkbuch, Winterthur 1953, pp. 59-70, quote p. 65.
19. Handwritten dedication from Rainer Maria Rilke to Madame de Waard on his foreword to Mizu by Balthazar Klossowski, 1920, http://www.ader-paris.fr/html/fiche.jsp?id=5127591&np=1&lng=fr&npp=10000&ordre=&aff=&r= . Rilke also gave her a copy of his Sonette der Louïze Labé (1918), with the simple dedication ‘for B. de Waard’ and a decorative border, probably drawn by De Waard, now in the collection of Fondation Rainer Maria Rilke, Sierre (CH). Information kindly provided by Prof. Unglaub.
20. Fine von Kahler to Friedrich Gundolf, 16 June 1922, in Friedrich Gundolf – Erich von Kahler. Briefwechsel 1910–1931. Mit Auszügen aus dem Briefwechsel Friedrich Gundolf – Fine von Kahler. Hg. von Klaus Pott unter Mitarbeit von Petra Kuse, Göttingen 2012, vol. 1, p. 445.
21. Erich von Kahler to Fine von Kahler, July 1920, in Friedrich Gundolf Erich von Kahler, Briefwechsel 2012, vol. 1, pp. 479-480. See also id., pp. 179, 212, 268 en “…genug Geschichte erlebt.” Hilde Koplenig (1904-2002) Erinnerungen. Eds. Ilse Korotin and Karin Nusko, Vienna 2008, pp. 176, 215.
22. Gundolf to Elisabeth Salomon, 10 and 13 April 1918, in: Elisabeth Salomon : Friedrich Gundolf Briefwechsel (1914-1931). Im Auftrag des Deutschen Literaturarchivs Marbach herausgegeben von Gunilla Eschenbach und Helmuth Mojem unter Benutzung von Vorarbeiten von Michael Matthiesen, Berlin / Boston 2015, pp. 116-118. Gundolf was Jewish, like Kahler and many members of the German intellectual and literary circles with which De Waard was associated.
23. De Waard wrote telling Polanyi that Roussel’s niece and her husband had driven her to see a small exhibition of drawings by Roussel in Paris, where she had seen a small portrait of herself in the window. De Waard to Polanyi, 23 March 1961, in ‘Correspondence’, p. 17.
24. See for example the letter from Rilke to Lou Andreas Salome, quoted in Rolf S. Günther, Rainer Maria Rilke und Lou Andreas Salome: auf welches Instrument sind wir gespannt. Traumerzählungen, Würzburg 2010, p. 305. On Bé’s work arranging and mediating things, see for example the letter from Rilke to Wilhelm Hausenstein, 29 July 1917, quoted in Erich Unglaub, ‘Ein Brief von Rainer Maria an Wilhelm Hausenstein’, http://www.academia.edu/14021612/Ein_Brief_von_Rainer_Maria_Rilke_an_Wilhelm_Hausenstein.
25. Letter from Rilke to the painter Lou (Lulu) Albert-Lasard about a Franz Marc-exhibition, 5 October 1916, https://mitrilkedurchdasjahr.blogspot.nl/2011/04/rainer-maria-rilke-sonntagsthema-uber.html:.
26. E-mail from Nicolas Langlois to the author, 31 May 2016.
27. E-mails from Nicolas Langlois to the author, 13 May and 3 October 2016.
28. De Waard to Polanyi or Duczyńska , in ‘Correspondence’, pp. 255-256.
29. Henri Matisse, ‘Notes d’un peintre’ (1908), reprinted in id., Écrits et propos sur l’art. Texte, notes en index établis par Dominique Fourcade, Paris 1972, pp. 51-52. De Waard to Polanyi or Duczyńska , in ‘Correspondence’, p. 9.
30. De Waard to Polanyi or Duczyńska , in ‘Correspondence’, pp. 8, 17.
31. Reynolds, op. cit. (note 9), pp. 338-340.
32. Marianne Bierenbroodspot, Nicolaas Warb (1906 - 1957) en haar interpretatie van de kleurenleer van Goethe: een aanzet tot een catalogue raisonné, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam doctoral thesis, 2007, pp. 24-25.
33. De waard to Duczyńska , in ‘Correspondence’, p. 128.
34. De Waard to Duczyńska , in id., p. 97. Concerning her fall, letter with salutation ‘old’, id., p. 198.
35. De Waard to Polanyi, in id., p. 213.
36. Ibid.
37. See note 5.
38. Ibid., pp. 185-186. De Waard received more gifts from Roussel. In Antoine Salomon and Guy Cogeval, Vuillard. The Inexhaustible Glance. Critical Catalogue of Paintings and Pastels, Vol. 1, with the Collaboration of Mathias Chivot, cat. no. IV-175, p. 326, Roussel’s grandson Antoine Salomon states in the provenance of the oil painting Madame Vuillard Brushing Her Hair by Vuillard: ‘Given by Roussel to Bé de Waard, L’Étang-la-Ville’ and then art dealer Georges Maratier, Paris. In one of her final letters to Polanyi De Waard refers to ‘a very valuable painting of Jongkind Roussel gave me out of his collection on the last birthday of his life [my italics]’, which contradicts the statement above. ‘Correspondence’, p. 8.
39. E-mail from Erich Unglaub to the author, 10 March 2016.
40. De Waard to Polanyi, in ‘Correspondence’, p. 153.