Monday, August 22, 2011

Ivy in Flower...

What does this Henri Matisse collage have to do with Galveston's Lasker Park Neighborhood? I stumbled across the connection on a recent trip to the Dallas Museum of Art.

Morris Lasker
Morris Lasker (1840–1916) immigrated to the US from Germany at age 16. He later settled in Weatherford, TX , joined Col. George W. Baylor to fight the Apache Indians and fought for the Confederate Army. After the war he returned to Texas and by the 1890's was recognized as one of Galveston's most important bankers, businessman, realtor and philanthropists. Among his most notable contributions were the Lasker Home for Homeless Children and the Lasker Playground.

Lasker Playground

The Lasker Park neighborhood, bordered by Avenue M and Avenue L, 51st Street, Avenue S, and 37th Street, is named after the Lasker family.

The Morris Lasker Residence, located at 1726 Broadway, was considered one of Galveston's most historically significant residences. It was built in 1889-1892 and was designed by Nicholas Clayton. This historic building was demolished in 1967 to make way for apartments. 

Albert Lasker
Morris Lasker and his wife Nettie Davis-Lasker had eight children. Albert (the third child), was born in 1880. At the age of 13, he became a reporter for the Galveston Morning News. At the urging of his father, Albert gave up his journalistic career and joined the advertising firm of Lord and Thomas in Chicago, IL. Some 40 years later, Albert Lasker is credited with being the "father" of modern advertising.

Albert and his wife Mary were also active philanthropists. They established the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation to support biomedical research toward conquering disease, improving human health and extending life. Since it was formed, eighty Lasker laureates have received the Nobel Prize.

Henri Matisse
Albert Lasker died in 1952 and his wife Mary commissioned Henri Matisse, whose work she owned and admired, to create a 10′ x 10′ stained glass window for the mausoleum of her recently deceased husband, located in Tarrytown, N.Y. In the last years of his life, Henri Matisse was too crippled to paint and began working with gouache-coated papers, cutting out shapes and having them assembled into large collages. The Lasker piece, titled Ivy in Flower, took the form of one of these collages. However - due to some mis-communication, the commission was rejected and the window was never completed. The collage became the property of Mary Lasker and she later donated it to the Dallas Museum of Art, where it is currently part of an ongoing special-exhibit. 

Henri Matisse died in 1953 and Ivy in Flower is considered by many as his last significant work. 

1 comment:

GG said...

Post Script:
In the early 1950s, Albert's daughter, Frances Lasker-Brody and her husband Sidney also commissioned Henri Matisse to design a ceramic mural for the interior courtyard of their California house. The piece, titled La Gerbe,played a pivotal role in shaping the space and its expression.

Check out this link for more info...