More about The Parakeet and the Mermaid
La Perruche et la Sirene if you're trying to be fancy or just French.
Towards the end of his life, Matisse was diagnosed with abdominal cancer and had a surgery that left him unable to walk. But being an optimistic guy, Matisse wouldn’t let this get him down. He decided to refer back to a style of work that he used earlier in his career for the stage design of The Song of the Nightingale an opera by Igor Stravinsky in 1919. This style was, of course, his colorful, coral-like cut-outs!
Matisse lived a solid fourteen years after his risky surgery – a time he referred to as “une seconde vie” (a second life). Apparently the surgery gave him a new lease on life because Matisse was full of energy and creativity, which may or may not be due to his new, hot Russian assistant, Lydia Delectorskaya. The creative juices were, in fact, a-flowin’. Matisse would cut shapes out of paper and have Lydia and a variety of assistants (but mostly Lydia) pin them to his wall until he got just the right arrangement. These cut outs would often end up gigantic. This piece, for example is 11 feet tall and 25 feet long. To put that in perspective, an adult giraffe is about 20 feet tall. If that isn’t just down right incredible then you need to really lower your standards.
This piece specifically is called The Parakeet and the Mermaid, probably because of the parakeet and the mermaid in the work. For those of you with potato eyes like myself, the parakeet is the shape on the left that vaguely resembles a corndog and the mermaid is the shape on the right that looks like something you would find in a Rorschach test aka it pretty much looks like nothing. The genius of Matisse is that we can look at this colorful work and all of a sudden feel like we are in some tropical, mystical land with not a care in the world. So if your therapy bills are steadily increasing, consider just standing in front of a Matisse cut-out for a while.
- "Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs." Moma.org. Web. 6 Oct. 2017.
- "Paper Cuts Outs (Gouaches Decoupes) Of Henri Matisse." Henri-matisse.net. N.p., 2011. Web. 6 Oct. 2017.
- "Henri Matisse | La Perruche Et La Sirène (1952) | Artsy." Artsy.net. Web. 6 Oct. 2017.