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Displaying items by tag: henri matisse: la gerbe

Henri Matisse: La Gerbe is currently on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and highlights the artist’s final commissioned work. Henri Matisse (1869-1954) created La Gerbe (The Sheaf), a 2,000 lb., 18 x 20-foot ceramic piece, in 1952 for the home of Los Angeles-based philanthropists Sidney and Frances Brody. Mrs. Brody promised the work to LACMA in honor of the museum’s 25th anniversary and donated it to the institution in 2010. This event marks the first time that La Gerbe has been displayed alongside its full-scale maquette, which is on loan from the University of California’s Hammer Museum.  

Late in his career, Matisse developed his cut-out technique, which involved cutting organic shapes out of colored paper and arranging them on his studio’s walls. Giving the artist a renewed sense of freedom, Matisse lauded the technique for its immediacy and simplicity, which he believed helped him express his artistic urgencies more completely.

When he received the commission from the Brody’s, Matisse created a full-scale paper cut-out of his design, which he showed the couple during their visit to his studio in Nice, France. The Brody’s rejected the first design but accepted a second full-scale cut-out, which is the maquette included in LACMA’s exhibition. The final La Gerbe was executed in ceramic and consisted of 15 sections, which were shipped to Los Angeles in 1954 following the artist’s death. The work was installed on the Body’s patio wall where it remained until Frances’ death in 2009. The work was permanently installed at LACMA in 2010.

LACMA’s exhibition includes other major works from Matisse’s cut-out period including Madame de Pompadour (1951) and Jazz (1947), a historic book of 20 prints, which is considered the artists’ first major project using the cut-out technique.

The La Gerbe exhibition will be on view at LACMA through September 8, 2013.

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