August 2018 Auction Ends Thursday, August 30th, 5pm Pacific
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 8/30/2018
Scarce group of ten autograph letters signed by Mata Hari, the World War I French spy who was killed by firing squad for purportedly acting as a German double agent. Lot is exceptional not only for its rarity, but also for its emotional content, as Mata Hari writes to her lover, the young and then unknown artist Piet van der Hem (whose portrait of Mata Hari hangs in the Fries Museum), an unusual pairing for the femme fatale, known for her alliances with only wealthy and aristocratic men. Indeed, in one of the letters, Mata Hari proclaims that she loved van der Hem ''only for who you are'' and therefore wouldn't forgive him for having ''your fun'' with her; she also writes in the same letter that she wouldn't ''take revenge'' on him, as she would with an otherwise important man who had wronged her.

Though undated, letters likely span from late 1914 to early 1915, during World War I but before Mata Hari was recruited by the French to spy on Germany. She writes all the letters from the Victoria Hotel in Amsterdam, where she lived in WWI-neutral Holland after fleeing Berlin at the start of the war. During this time in Amsterdam, Mata Hari writes about finding work as a dancer, the Dutch reaction to her dancing style, ''journalist pigs'' who critique her, and having van der Hem paint her portrait and design costumes for her. She also makes mention of Will van der Schalk, the wealthy banker who paid her expenses at the hotel. Seven letters are written in French and three in Dutch, with two of the letters signed ''Mata Hari'', seven with her given name ''Marquerite'', and one unsigned.

Beginning in reverse order, Mata Hari pens an intriguing letter in early 1915, translated in part, ''My dear Piet / So read a bit what these journalist pigs dare to write. I asked my lawyer if the individual was worth the effort of a slap. He told me no. So I leave him be. I'm not dancing at the party on January 15. The Opera management won't let me. I don't know if van der Schalk wants to go. If not, would you be so kind as to drive me there? If you can't, then I won't go either. / Think about my hat and the little piece of fur that I asked you for. There's no rush, but I would like to have it all the same. / You are not very kind; but I have never asked a man to come see me. So I chase you away, too. / My best wishes and good friendship, Marquerite''.

In the next letter, dated 1 January (1915), Mata Hari stings at what seems to be a rebuke of her by van der Hem. Letter translates from French, ''My dear Piet, I understand very well when a woman forgives the lover that she depends on, but since I loved you only for who you are, I do not forgive you. I am too proud for that, and besides, I don't think reasonably when in love. I laugh at those women who write about bouquets of flowers and who talk about 'forgiveness' that they don't feel. / Come now, Piet. I have lived too long in Paris, and I know life. I also reason when the game has high stakes. And then, for my part, I take revenge, but here all that doesn't exist. / If this is how you have your fun, then all the better, and my best wishes / Marguerite''.

In an interesting letter in Dutch, dated only ''Saturday evening'', Mata Hari describes the Dutch vs. French reaction to her dancing, and the ''angry journalists'' who called out a faux pas she made while dancing. Letter reads in part, ''...Yesterday I danced in Arnhem with great success, but the audience is very aristocratic there and loves those serious, graceful dances. Here is different. They are people who have never seen anything. They all think ugly things come from abroad. Fortunately for me, I dance here out of amusement and to maintain suppleness. I am not looking for money here and also don't have to make a name for myself. When you have Paris and Vienna etc. like me, then the Dutch can not do me much harm. / And then, people are so jealous here, and so angry - in Arnhem that is completely different. / I dance again Sunday in The Hague and Tuesday in Amsterdam. / Yes. I had a faux pas in The Hague. The carpet was laid very nice over a hole, in which the decor is usually fixed. And I just put my foot on it. It was a 'second' but the angry journalists took it as true to write about. Foul people. Go away! / I had a lot of flowers from my known and unknown friends...'' Unsigned with last page missing.

On 30 November 1914, Mata Hari writes of her dancing schedule and gently chastises van der Hem for not having an ''exhibition'' of paintings of her ready to display. Letter in French reads in part, ''...I have to dance on 14 Dec in The Hague and on 18 Dec in Arnhem. I would have been so happy if you would have made a small exhibition that would have resulted I think in a lot of orders for you - Why not say with all frankness Marquerite I don't have time. Or any excuse? Will you still live in The Hague? I have an offer for you for your Louis XVI furniture. Would you like to sell them to me? They please me so much and go so well in my interior, where, I repeat, you are always welcome. I will live in The Hague in a week. My compliments...Mata Hari''.

In a Dutch letter also containing a costume sketch (perhaps by van der Hem), Mata Hari announces that she is dancing for an opera house, in part, ''Can you come to me tonight? I need to speak to you. I am coming from The Hague - and have assumed the commitment of the opera. I debut with my tableau de Lancret. I also received the Van Petersburg album. It is very beautiful. Much love from Marquerite''.

Several other letters concern costumes that van der Hem was designing for Mata Hari. Dated ''Sunday night'', she writes in French, ''...I think that the 18th century doesn't enchant you - say it to me frankly. I understand it very well. And if you don't want to continue this drawing be kind enough and send the Lancret one to Mrs. Koppel so that she can finish the costume. I have enough pretty modern dresses that will inspire you more. / You will come one day to see me and we will choose the wardrobe that you like. Do you want to do this? Believe in my feelings...Mata Hari''.

Perhaps earlier in their relationship, Mata Hari writes ''Mon cher Piet'' about his work for her, translated in part, ''I really thought that you preferred making modern 'studies', but if you don't mind doing it, than it is ok. I hope your work is good...One work goes better than the other. So it is with me. So it will be with you. I had almost regretted that I asked you to follow this road, because one must have a 'talent' for what it is. And not try to lead it to where the feeling is not...I am a very ambitious woman myself and when I feel an affinity for someone than I have the same ambitious feelings as strongly for him. I have so many interesting modern things for you that you have to say to me, Marquerite it pleases me or not. I will come tonight a bit later because I am expecting a visitor around 9 o'clock. / Much love / your Marquerite''.

In an affectionate letter inscribed ''my Piet'', Mata Hari writes, ''A quick note to tell you that we will take the set tomorrow. Please pick me up here around 4 am, will you? I'm glad you work so much. We must take advantage of the moment when we are in vogue - I kiss you, and I love you. Your Marquerite...''

Letters run two to four pages, most on bifolium stationery measuring 5.5'' x 8.5'' as folded, and others on 8.5'' x 11'' stationery. Some toning and foxing, with separation starting to folds of a few letters. Overall in very good condition with legible, flowing penmanship by Mata Hari. Letters come from the estate of van der Hem's lawyer, to whom they were given as payment for legal services.
Mata Hari Autograph Letters Signed to Her Lover -- ''...I understand...when a woman forgives the lover that she depends on, but since I loved you only for who you are, I do not forgive you...''Mata Hari Autograph Letters Signed to Her Lover -- ''...I understand...when a woman forgives the lover that she depends on, but since I loved you only for who you are, I do not forgive you...''Mata Hari Autograph Letters Signed to Her Lover -- ''...I understand...when a woman forgives the lover that she depends on, but since I loved you only for who you are, I do not forgive you...''Mata Hari Autograph Letters Signed to Her Lover -- ''...I understand...when a woman forgives the lover that she depends on, but since I loved you only for who you are, I do not forgive you...''
Mata Hari Autograph Letters Signed to Her Lover -- ''...I understand...when a woman forgives the lover that she depends on, but since I loved you only for who you are, I do not forgive you...''Mata Hari Autograph Letters Signed to Her Lover -- ''...I understand...when a woman forgives the lover that she depends on, but since I loved you only for who you are, I do not forgive you...''Mata Hari Autograph Letters Signed to Her Lover -- ''...I understand...when a woman forgives the lover that she depends on, but since I loved you only for who you are, I do not forgive you...''Mata Hari Autograph Letters Signed to Her Lover -- ''...I understand...when a woman forgives the lover that she depends on, but since I loved you only for who you are, I do not forgive you...''
Mata Hari Autograph Letters Signed to Her Lover -- ''...I understand...when a woman forgives the lover that she depends on, but since I loved you only for who you are, I do not forgive you...''Mata Hari Autograph Letters Signed to Her Lover -- ''...I understand...when a woman forgives the lover that she depends on, but since I loved you only for who you are, I do not forgive you...''Mata Hari Autograph Letters Signed to Her Lover -- ''...I understand...when a woman forgives the lover that she depends on, but since I loved you only for who you are, I do not forgive you...''
Mata Hari Autograph Letters Signed to Her Lover -- ''...I understand...when a woman forgives the lover that she depends on, but since I loved you only for who you are, I do not forgive you...''
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Auction closed on Thursday, August 30, 2018.
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