Lydia Delectorskaya – Matisse Russian Muse
Lydia Delectorskaya was a Russian translator, model, studio assistant and secretary of the great French artist Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954). She translated all works by Konstantin Paustovsky from Russian into French.
Lydia was born on June 23, 1910 in Tomsk. The girl became an orphan when she was 13 years old (her parents died during the Civil War). Her relative took her to Harbin and then Lydia came to France. At the age of 19 the girl married a Russian emigrant. But their marriage was short-lived.
In the autumn of 1932 she found employment in the Henri Matisse household as both a studio assistant and domestic. Lydia took care of seriously ill Madame Matisse. In October 1933, Delectorskaya moved into Matisse’s house and lived there for almost 22 years before the last breath of the great master.
Henri was a draughtsman and sculptor, but he is known primarily as a painter.
Lydia began to pose for Matisse, notably for a series of reclining nudes, including Le Reve (Large Reclining Nude), Began Nymphe dans la foret (Nymph in the Forest). She was a model for Matisse’s famous composition Woman in Blue (1937) and famous Portrait of Lydia (1947). For twenty years Matisse presented Lydia with his pictures twice a year.
Matisse was almost 30 years older than Lydia. Although she insisted that the relationship was strictly platonic.
Delectorskaya died on March 16, 1998 in Paris.
In 2010, the famous documentary director Olesya Fokina filmed short movie titled Lydia D. The plot of the movie tells about the dramatic life and the fate of the great Russian translator Lydia Delectorskaya.