I think you already know that Henri Matisse: La Gerbe opens this weekend. Again, this is the installation that shows the monumental 1953 ceramic bequeathed by Frances Brody to LACMA in 2010 alongside a host of related pieces including: the artist's iconic late-career paper cut-outs; the initial color samples Matisse sent from France to the Brodys in California; Matisse's original maquette for the project (on loan from the Hammer Museum); archive press about La Gerbe and more.
Mrs. Brody was relatively young -- in her thirties -- when she and her husband approached the 20th century master about creating a piece for their A. Quincy Jones-designed L.A. house. In LACMA's papers, she unpretentiously refers to the challenging outdoor space in need of art as their patio. And from there she shares a straightforward but lively personal account of the process (the stages of the commission, the visits to Matisse's studio and to the then-just-completed chapel in Vence, the trans-continental shipping and the original installation). The entire story is still available online, courtesy the Museum, for everyone who can't see the exhibition in person. Well worth a read.
[Matisse's studio and apartment at the Hotel Regina.]