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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A woman to admire

The modern art collection of Frances Lasker Brody, valued at over $150 million, will go up for auction at Christie's on May 4 and 5. The works include a veritable who's who of the 19th and 20th centuries, including Picasso, Giacometti, Vuillard, Braque, and Degas.

Frances Brody and her developer husband, Sidney, were voracious art collectors who displayed their masterpieces in a Holmby Hills house designed by architect A. Quincy Jones and interior designer William (Billy) Haines.

When the Brodys were first married, they visited Henri Matisse in France to discuss a commission. The piece was delivered several months later, but Mrs. Brody was not pleased with the work. She sent Monsieur Matisse a brief message: "Try again."

Matisse's second attempt was this out-sized ceramic-tile artwork featuring his famous leaf design. It was the centerpiece of the Brody's atrium until it was donated to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Frances Brody died at age 93 in November and Sidney died in 1983.

(Interior photos: Kate Carr Photography.)

[New York magazine]


The Shiny Pebble said...

I suspected there was this side to you... I just hadn't seen it yet. :)

sarah, flourish design + style said...

Spectacular. You've got to admire a woman who can tell Matisse to try again. xo

hello gorgeous said...

Yeah, I did that with Picasso.

"Hey, dude, my nose does not go there." He was not amused.

mb said...

A similar story in with Andy Warhol and the Nasher family. (of the Nasher Sculpture Garden fame) Portraits were done of mom and the three sisters and one of the sisters was not terribly keen on her portrait... she also responded... try again.

mb from Dallas

erin@designcrisis said...

Ha! Frances had a serious pair. I love it.

mb said...

... oh, oh, and Warhol did. He painted a new portrait.

mb from Dallas

sherri said...

! (you rule)

Karena said...

Raina, absolutely fascinating, and what a great story about Matisse & Mrs Brody. The atrium work is fabulous!

Art by Karena

The Zhush said...

I want to be Frances when I grow up, and then buy back that ceramic tile artwork and build an atrium around it! What? It could happen!

Tonia {Chic Modern Vintage} said...

I was at an art show over the weekend, I love original art!!!

susieq said...

What a great story! I cannot imagine telling Henri to "try again."


I'm so nosy -- I would LOVE to see the piece she didn't like.
Oh, how I wish my ancestors had been "voracious art collectors."

Raina Cox said...

Dreamer's Den - I thought the same thing. Surely, Matisse sold the "reject" to someone.

Mrs. Brody came from money and her parents were generous patrons of the arts as well. I wonder which pieces she inherited and which she bought herself.

drollgirl said...

UM, WHO TELLS MATISSE TO TRY AGAIN?!?! that takes BALLS!!! matisse is just fab. i would just about die to own any of his works. we rarely get his stuff in the gallery that i work at, but it sure is a treat to his stuff any time that i can.

Cashon&Co said...

this is what get's my heart beating.
i could dream to live like this. that last picture, of the painting mimicing the tree and all of it is just amazing.great post...yet again!