Walk: Mindful Body, Sacramento Street errands, Presidio (New Parklands tour)
Distance: 3.5 miles and take yoga class
Of all the joyous and free cut outs at the Matisse/MoMA show, Ciwt had a few favorites which she will present. The first (one of the last in the show) is The Parakeet and the Mermaid (with Venus, Blue Nude II, and Standing Blue Nude inserted), 1952. It is close to 12 feet by 26 feet , and happy and enchanting as it is, there is poignancy here. By the time he created it, Matisse - who always loved his gardens - was too physically compromised by painful health to go outside in any of the gardens around his Cote d'Azur homes (Nice and Vence). So he created this garden for himself by painting white paper with brightly colored gouache (or directing his assistants to do so), then cutting them freehand into these lyrical life forms and directed the able bodied assistants to pin the cut outs to the wall, manipulating them in space continually until they felt right to him. Because they were loosely pinned, the shapes fluttered like leaves or flowers - or the parakeet with which Matisse identified.
Even in this huge work with so much open white space and simple forms, there is a sense of intimacy and personality and earthly as well as ethereal energy that softly emanates and encloses the viewer and then keeps sweetly traveling into infinity.
Below is Matisse deftly working his scissors for the Mermaid that filled one wall then went around the corners and eventually contained the space truly creating an Eden.