Los Angeles County Museum of Art presents Henri Matisse. La Gerbe

. May 3, 2013

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) presents Henri Matisse: La Gerbe, an exhibition highlighting Henri Matisse’s final commissioned artwork, which Frances L. Brody promised to LACMA in honor of the museum’s twenty-fifth anniversary and bequeathed in 2010. In 1952, Los Angeles philanthropists Mr. and Mrs. Sidney F. Brody contacted Matisse and asked that he create an artwork for the patio of their new home designed by A. Quincy Jones. This resulted in a 2,000 lb., 12 x 18 foot ceramic piece titled La Gerbe (The Sheaf), which would be the artist’s last commissioned artwork.

Henri Matisse La Gerbe

Henri Matisse La Gerbe

This exhibition marks the first time in which the ceramic artwork will be on display with the rare, full-scale maquette, on loan from the University of California, Los Angeles’ Hammer Museum. Late in his career, Matisse systematically developed a technique in which he cut vibrantly colored papers into organic shapes and then arranged them to his studio’s wall. This method gave the artist the creative freedom to combine his views on form, color, plane, and space. Matisse reflected on the immediacy of the cut-out medium in 1951: “The cut-out paper allows me to draw in color. It is a simplification….It is not a starting point but a culmination.” He later added, “The cut-out is what I have now found the simplest and most direct way to express myself.”

The artist’s paper cut-out practice is exemplified in the exhibition by some of these late-career works such as the Madame de Pompadour (1951) and the historic book Jazz (1947), a full series of twenty prints that notably was Matisse’s first major project using the paper cut-out technique. Additionally, the entire set of nineteen original color samples of La Gerbe, all hand painted by the artist, will also be on view for the first time. The exhibition features a selection of archival materials documenting the story of the artist’s final commission, including photos, letters, and instructions regarding the making and acquisition of the work. Henri Matisse: La Gerbe is curated by Stephanie Barron, senior curator of modern art at LACMA. lacma.org

Category: Fine Art

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