Sims Reed Gallery | Henri Matisse: Jazz
May 20 – June 13, 2021
Henri Matisse: Jazz
Sims Reed Gallery
Jazz was pivotal in Matisse’s transition from oil painting to the cut-out collages that dominated the last decade of his life. Bedridden during a prolonged convalescence following a serious operation in 1941, Matisse began to consider further the possibilities that “painting with scissors” offered—an experiment that endured for the last decade of Matisse’s life. The illustrations in Jazz derive from maquettes of cut and pasted coloured papers which were printed using the stencil technique, pochoir.
The book title Jazz, evokes the idea of musical structure of rhythm and repetition, expressed by the explosive improvisations of colour plates and the experimental nature of the compositions. These vivid stencil prints are based on images realised from various shapes cut out of gouache-painted sheets of paper and are accompanied by poetic notes expressing the artist’s thoughts and opinions. The subjects of these compositions range from circus performers and music halls to Matisse’s travel experiences. The title suggests a connection between the process of making visual art and musical improvisation.