„The ceramic [‚La Gerbe’] has been up since early August, 1955 [...]. Far from becoming tiresome, its simplicity of design never fails to bring warmth, gaiety, color and beauty to an area observed by all who pass through any part of the house. This is truly the heart of our home.“
Frances Brody, 1956
On our visit to Los Angeles in October, it was fascinating to see the same motif in two different media.
In 1953, the collectors Frances and Sidney Brody gave Matisse a commission for a ceramic for the patio of their home in the Los Angeles hills. In connection with the commission emerged the papier découpé "La Gerbe", based on which a ceramic was produced and installed in the couple's patio.
The papier découpé was donated in 1957 to the collection of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and is currently kept with the collection at the Hammer Museum. After the death of Frances Brody in 2010, the cearmic was bequeathed to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).
"La Gerbe" evinces great similarities with "Acanthes". Executed the same year and of nearly identical dimensions, it is extremely interesting in connection with our project. The way in which the two works are mounted on canvas differs. Unlike Acanthes, "La Gerbe" has no intermediate sheet of kraft paper. This is probably explained by the fact that Acanthes was mounted at a considerably later date, and the mounting process had been altered and improved in the meantime.