"Matisse's Jazz featured subjects that related to his memories
of the circus, to popular stories and myths and to the journeys he
took earlier in life. Performance artists, Tahitian lagoons, and most
notably, the mythical figure Icarus, are represented in the body of
work. In book form, these magnificent works of art are interspersed
with Matisse's own handwritten 'comments on notes taken during my
life as a painter.' In Jazz, the images and text are very personal
expressions of Matisse's imagination, reflecting the various feelings
and inspirations that contributed to his artistic expression. He chose
the title Jazz, because he felt it expressed the kind of harmony he
improvised from all of these elements, similar to the way jazz musicians
improvised much of the music they performed in the world around him"
(Louisiana State Museum)
"The abstracted simplicity of form and the flat areas of colour
pattern which Matisse created with collages of paper during the
period at the beginning of the 1950's mark one of the most inspired
moments in his career as an artist. Rhythms of colour used in a
manner which went far beyond the merely visual had been a vital
element of his art from some 25 years earlier. However it was in
the period of the 'cut-paper' compositions that he was able to see
a way of taking them even further into the area of an independent
non-descriptive, effectively abstract, role... All the prints from
this 'cut-paper' period were created by Matisse making a 'maquette',
which was then transferred to lithographic stones at the studio
of Mourlot." (Weston)
During the 1950s the renowned French printer, Mourlot Freres, printed
most of the "original" posters of the most important artists
of the day. In 1959 they printed the series "Affiches Originales"
for collectors. They are reduced lithographic versions of the "original"
posters created by the contemporary masters, Picasso,
Chagall, Braque, Matisse,
Miro, Leger, and Dufy.