Danseuse Creole by Henri Matisse


Danseuse Creole


Henri Matisse

Ref SPT8663
Type Print
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'Danseuse Creole' is one of the images from the book 'Jazz' which is an artist's book of about one hundred prints based on paper cutouts by Henri Matisse. Matisse was in his seventies and in poor health when he began this project; he could no longer draw or paint easily with a pencil or brush. He used scissors to cut out simple forms from brightly colored paper painted to his specifications with gouache, then arranged them on another sheet of gouache-painted paper. Assistants took these assemblages and prepared them for printing. It was a popular practice at the time for noted artists to create limited edition books. The original intention was for Matisse to illustrate poems written by a French author. As Matisse began, he used a large fluid brush to write notes to himself on construction paper about his thoughts as he created the images. The simple visual appearance of the words pleased Matisse, and he suggested using his roughly painted words in juxtaposition with the images, rather than the original poems. The publisher agreed. Many of the prints in Jazz take their theme from the theatre or circus. Tériade came up with the seemingly inappropriate title. However, Matisse not only went along, but was taken with the idea, sensing a connection of the visual and musical through improvisation on a theme. None of the original copies were bound, and many of the purchasers arranged with prominent artists like Cocteau or famous graphic designers to create binders for the pages. Each of the pages is about 24 inches by 12 inches and folded in the center. Some of the pages have Matisse's text on the left side and an image on the right; other pages, cover the entire sheet and there is no text. Covers simply press the pages flat and hold them together. The original edition of September 30, 1947 consisted of 250 sets of prints and sold for $120 each.