Enlarge 1 / 1


France 1869 – 1954



publisher (organisation)




printer (organisation)

L'avaleur de sabres [The sword-swallower] [Jazz] 1947 Description: a porfolio of twenty stencils with pages of handwritten text

Collection Title: Jazz
Page: 91
Place made: Vence Paris, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Alpes-Maritimes Ile-de-France, France France
Materials & Technique: prints, illustrated books, stencil, lithography pochoir, printed in colour from multiple papercut stencils; lithograph, printed in black ink, from one stone. Support: off white velin d'Arches paper with centre fold, decaled left and right edges, torn upper and lower edges
Manufacturer's Mark: verso: upper left corner 'ARCHES'
Impression: 39/250
Edition: edition of 250 plus 250 on velin d'Arches paper, numbered 1-250; plus edition of 20 Hors de commerce on vellum, numbered I-XX, 100 albums of plates only
Place Published: Paris
Date Published: 1947

Edition Notes: The book Jazz contains 146 pages and 4 leaves including 20 twenty stencils with pages of lithographed text handwritten by Matisse. Cut out paper was used as the base for making stencil designs, which were printed by Edmond Vairel. The cover and manuscript pages were printed by Draeger Frères, Paris. The following translation of the text of Jazz appeared in Jack Flam, Matisse on Art, Phaidon Press Ltd, London, 1973, p. 11-113: Notes Why, after having written, 'he who wants to dedicate himself to painting should start by cutting out his tongue', do I need to resort to a medium other than my own? Because now I wish to display colour plates in the most favourable conditions possible. To do so, I need to separate them by intervals of a different character. I decided that a handwritten text was most suitable for this purpose. The unusual size of the writing seems to me to provide the necessary decorative rapport with the character of the colour plates. Thus these pages serve only as an accompaniment to my colours, as asters add to the composition of a bouquet of more important flowers. Thus their role is purely visual. What else can I write? I certainly cannot fill these pages with the fables of La Fontaine, as I did when I was a solicitor's clerk, for 'engrossed conclusions' that no one, not even the judge, ever reads; and which only serve to use up a quantity of official paper proportionate to the importance of the case. I only offer some remarks, notes made in the course of my lifetime as a painter. I ask that one read them in the indulgent spirit generally accorded the writings of a painter.
Primary Insc: not signed. not dated. lithographed in black ink "Ces pagesne servent
Dimensions: comp and sheet 42.2 h x 32.8 w cm
Cat Raisonné: C. Duthuit & F. Garnaud (Paris: Claude Duthuit, 1988) cat. 22
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1979
Accession No: NGA 80.252.13