Cutting Edge Art: Henri Matisse’s 'Jazz' | Sotheby's

PARIS | 11 - 27 JUNE 2024

Henri Matisse’s Jazz is considered one of the greatest illustrated books of the 20th century. It marks a significant stage in Matisse’s career—the pioneering use of cut-out paper as a medium, rather than merely a compositional tool.

In Matisse's words, "Paper cut-outs allow me to draw in colour. For me, it's a question of simplification... I draw directly in colour, which is all the more controlled because it is not transposed. This simplification guarantees precision in bringing together the two media, which become one."

Jazz, published in 1947, is a portfolio of 20 circus-themed plates, each signed in pencil by Matisse. When the 270 copies of the book were finally published by Tériade, Matisse was deeply impressed by the final rendering of the print collection, especially by the intensity, contrast, and brilliance of the stencil-printed colours.

This extraordinary portfolio is part of Sotheby’s ongoing online sale in Paris, Livres et Manuscrits, open for bidding now and closing on 27 June 2024.

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