On June 17, 1952 Matisse was working on the cut outs to decorate his bedroom with The Parakeet and the Mermaid.
Cut outs had become his main medium since the late 40. Matisse would cut painted sheets into forms of varying shapes and sizes which he then arranged into lively compositions which grew from modest size to large scale. He said that he was “drawing with scissors” or “carving into color," like a sculpture.
Picasso, living nearby would regularly visit Matisse, who was invalid.
Raoul Dufy was a long time admirer of Matisse and had declared upon seeing his work in 1905 that it was a “miracle of creative imagination in colour and line”. Dufy was later buried next to Matisse in Nice.
Mark Rothko was also among the admirers of the artist. He spent “hours and hours" sitting in front of the Red Studio of Matisse. He said, that when looking at it "you became color, you became totally saturated with it" and it gave him the courage to pursue his great breakthrough of 1949.
Sources: Matisse and Picasso: The Story of Their Rivalry and Friendship (Icon Editions) –2004
Les Fauves: A Sourcebook By Russell T. Clement, 1994
Rothko, Homage to Matisse, Auction Catalogue, Christies
Henri's imaginary garden, 2019, Acrylic on canvas, 14" x 11" (36 x 28 cm)