Matisse - Jazz

"The cut paper allows me to draw in color. It is for me a simplification. Instead of drawing the outline and installing the color - one modifying the other -, I draw directly in the color, which is all the more measured as it is not composed. This simplification guarantees a precision in the meeting of the two means, which become one." Henri Matisse

Published in September 1947, but elaborated as early as 1943, Jazz (maquettes and book) is a key moment in Matisse's evolution. It is the experimental space, the laboratory that allows him to move from painting to the practice of cut paper that he will develop during the last decade of his life.

The publisher Tériade had suggested to Matisse in the summer of 1941 the publication of a book in color and even that of a "modern painting manuscript". He was thinking at that time of the use of gouache-colored flat tints that Matisse had begun to develop, until then only for specific projects, covers for Cahiers d'Art and for Verve in particular. Matisse did not actually start working on the models until early 1943. The first ones produced were Le Clown and Le Toboggan (which became respectively the first and last plates of the book) on the theme of the Circus, which was the original title chosen by Matisse before he chose the word Jazz, better suited to the lively and syncopated character of the colored cutouts. The realization of the plates continues during the year 1943, and the beginning of 1944 while he is installed in Vence in the city The Dream.

On August 5, 19443, Matisse listed eighteen models to Tériade, so the plates were almost finished (with the exception of two Lagons).
In 1946, Matisse completed the model of his "flower-book", Jazz - composed of twenty color plates, executed in gouache cut-outs between late June 1943 and 1944, and pages of writing -, which was published by Tériade in 1947. This first set, which systematically and solely used the technique of gouache cut out "live" in the color, was to constitute the matrix of his later work, until his death in 1954.