Prints & Multiples Evening Sale

Prints & Multiples Evening Sale

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 31. HENRI MATISSE | JAZZ (DUTHUIT BOOKS 22 BIS).


Auction Closed

April 29, 11:13 PM GMT


700,000 - 1,000,000 USD

Lot Details


Property from an Important Private American collection


1869 - 1954


The complete portfolio, comprising 20 pochoirs printed in colors, 1947, signed in pencil on the justification page, number 50 from the edition of 100 (there is also a folded edition of 250), on Arches wove paper, with the table of images and original paper-covered portfolio, published by Tériade, Paris, each framed (20 prints)

sheets approx.: 420 by 648 mm 16½ by 25½ in

With their bold, bright colors and the combination of both simplicity in form and sophistication in technique, Jazz distills Matisse’s essential qualities, solidifying the work as one of the most seminal and ground-breaking artist’s books of the twentieth century.

While living in Venice during 1943 – 1944, Matisse, due to his ailing health, was unable to paint or draw as freely as he once had. He therefore returned to the cut-out technique that he had developed years prior in preparation for his iconic mural commissioned for the Barnes Foundation. Dubbing the process ‘drawing with scissors’, Matisse used large shears and gouache-painted paper to create maquettes for the illustrated book Jazz, which were then reproduced as pochoirs under the artist’s meticulous supervision at the printing press. These cut-outs became a new medium unto themselves and laid the groundwork for a new chapter of Matisse’s artistic output that would define his later career. John Elderfield writes of Matisse’s process in his book, explaining, “With Jazz, Matisse began using the Linel gouaches that characterized his subsequent cut-outs […] The increasing number of independently conceived cut-outs that followed Jazz…can be viewed as Matisse’s attempts both to codify his new vocabulary and to create a new syntax especially appropriate to it.” (John Elderfield, The Cut-outs of Henri Matisse, New York, 1978, p. 9).

Drawing inspiration from both folklore and the circus, as evident in titles such as The Clown and Icarus, Matisse originally presumed to title the series Le Cirque. Yet, his publisher, Tériade, later suggested the title Jazz, which although unrelated to the subject matter, Matisse welcomed for the connection it implied between art and musical improvisation.

‘The term more probably refers to a more nebulous complex of ideas, from the rhythm of modern life to a specific existential feeling, both vital and free as well as aggressive and dangerous, constantly alternating between risk and success, mischance and luck’ (O. Berggruen and M. Hollein, Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors, Munich, 2002, p. 24.)