Henri Matisse: La Gerbe

Ahmanson Building, Level 2
April 21, 2013–September 8, 2013

In 2010, Matisse's large ceramic, La Gerbe (The Sheaf) was bequeathed to LACMA. Commissioned by Mr. and Mrs. Sidney F. Brody in the early 1950s for the courtyard of their home by A. Quincy Jones, the ceramic reflects the work Matisse had been doing with large, colorful paper cut-outs. Henri Matisse: La Gerbe places Matisse’s final commission by the Brodys in context with the paper cut-outs he made at the end of his career, exemplified by the print portfolio Jazz (1947) and his Madame de Pompadour (1951). In addition, the exhibition includes the original maquette for La Gerbe, on loan from the Hammer Museum; this is the first time the maquette and the ceramic have been exhibited together.

Mrs. Brody, cognizant of the commission’s significance, wrote a detailed account of the meeting she and her husband had with Matisse in Southern France, where the artist's first design was rejected by the couple; both the original manuscript and a version published in Art News are included in the exhibition. In addition, her correspondence with Pierre Matisse, the artist’s son and dealer; press surrounding La Gerbe; archival photographs of its installation, and the original color samples Matisse sent to the Brodys all provide a rare glimpse into the process of commissioning such a monumental project.

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Image: La Gerbe installed in Brody residence. Photo courtesy the archives of Frances Brody, now at LACMA.

Madame de Pompadour
Henri Matisse
Le Toboggan (from the Jazz Series)
Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse’s La Gerbe (The Sheaf)
in the process of being deinstalled from the Brody residence
February 2010
Photograph of sections of La Gerbe (The Sheaf)
in its packing crate at the Brody residence

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