Henri Matisse, Jazz Portfolio

Henri Matisse, Jazz Portfolio

Henri Matisse was a revolutionary French artist, arguably one of the most iconic of the early 20th Century. A master of colour, form, and composition, Matisse was a leading figure in the Fauvist movement. Throughout his illustrious career, he continually pushed the boundaries of artistic conventions, evolving from traditional painting to groundbreaking forms of expression later on in his career.

HENRI MATISSE (FRENCH 1869-1954) Formes (Forms)

Lot 100; HENRI MATISSE (FRENCH 1869-1954) Formes (Forms)1947 
Estimate £3,000 - £5,000

In 1941, Matisse underwent a significant health setback when he was diagnosed with abdominal cancer. This diagnosis led to a major surgery that left him bedridden for an extended period. The surgery and subsequent recovery greatly impacted Matisse's physical abilities, confining him to a wheelchair and limiting his mobility.

HENRI MATISSE (FRENCH 1869-1954) L'Avaleur de sabres (The Sword-Swallower)

Lot 101: HENRI MATISSE (FRENCH 1869-1954) L'Avaleur de sabres (The Sword-Swallower)1947 
Estimate £3,000 - £5,000

Despite the challenges posed by his illness and reduced physical capacity, Matisse continued to create art, adapting his methods to accommodate his circumstances. It was during this period, marked by physical constraints, that Matisse explored the cut-out technique, a method that involved cutting shapes from gouache-painted paper and arranging them into dynamic compositions. This innovative approach not only allowed him to continue his artistic practice but also resulted in some of his most iconic and celebrated works, including the renowned Jazz portfolio. Matisse's ability to transform adversity into creative innovation during this challenging time is a testament to his resilience and enduring artistic spirit.

HENRI MATISSE (FRENCH 1869-1954) Le Loup (The Wolf)

Lot 102: HENRI MATISSE (FRENCH 1869-1954) Le Loup (The Wolf) 1947 
Estimate £3,000 - £5,000

“the wolf with blood-stained eye, his jaws ready to bite”

Inspired by childhood memories of the circus, folklore and exotic voyages to the South Seas, Jazz is a portfolio made up of 20 plates filled with vibrant colours, playful shapes and joyful theatre. The cut-outs, that Matisse had executed from his sick bed, served as the prototypes for the pochoir prints that made up the illustrated book Jazz. This book was published in 1947 by Paris based publisher Tériade, in an edition of 250.

Chiswick are pleased to present a selection of nine of these pochoirs in our February 13th Prints and Multiples Auction.

HENRI MATISSE (FRENCH 1869-1954) Le Cauchemar de l'Elephant blanc (The Nightmare of the White Elephant) 

Lot 103: HENRI MATISSE (FRENCH 1869-1954) Le Cauchemar de l'Elephant blanc (The Nightmare of the White Elephant) 1947
Estimate £3,000 - £5,000

‘’the white elephant (white is a symbol of animals that are victims of taming, captivity) is performing its act standing on a ball, under dazzling lights, while memories of his native black forest (black is primitive and powerful) assail him like red tongues of fire, with all the violence of arrows”


The pochoir printing process was used so that the prints could remain as faithful to the original cut outs as possible. In concept, pochoir is a fairly straightforward form of reproduction: ink is brushed through a series of pre-cut stencils, each stencil representing a new layer of the image, until the final picture is complete. Matisse enjoyed the flexibility of cut outs and pochoir as the compositions could be altered easily, and the layering of colours allows for a variation in texture between each printing. The same gouaches that had been used by Matisse in the initial cut outs were featured, the resulting prints were faithful to the original image in both colour and dimension – the irregularity of layering adds to their charm.

HENRI MATISSE (FRENCH 1869-1954) Le Cirque (The Circus)

Lot 104:HENRI MATISSE (FRENCH 1869-1954) Le Cirque (The Circus) 1947
Estimate £3,000 - £5,000

“the banderole, the red carpet, the tightrope walker”


All nine of the Jazz pochoirs included in this auction are visually stunning – each demonstrating Matisse’s key inspirations of the circus, folklore and his travels to the South Seas. The titles further reinforce  these themes, as well as the precise descriptions given by the painter, faithfully noted down by his collaborator Lydia Delectorskaya.
HENRI MATISSE (FRENCH 1869-1954) Le Cow-Boy (The Cowboy) 1947

Lot 105: HENRI MATISSE (FRENCH 1869-1954) Le Cow-Boy (The Cowboy) 1947
Estimate £3,000 - £5,000

“the cowboy whose horse is rearing up lassoes a woman”

HENRI MATISSE (FRENCH 1869-1954) Le Toboggan (The Toboggan) 1947

Lot 106:HENRI MATISSE (FRENCH 1869-1954) Le Toboggan (The Toboggan)1947
Estimate £3,000 - £5,000

“a feminine, human form, falling, rolled up in a ball, as if coming down a chute.”

HENRI MATISSE (FRENCH 1869-1954) L'Enterrement de Pierrot (The Funeral of Pierrot) 1947

Lot 107: HENRI MATISSE (FRENCH 1869-1954) L'Enterrement de Pierrot (The Funeral of Pierrot) 1947
 Estimate £3,000 - £5,000

“a funeral, dead autumn leaves; buts it’s a Pierrot’s funeral, it’s bright and spruce”

HENRI MATISSE (FRENCH 1869-1954) Monsieur Loyal 1947

Lot 108: HENRI MATISSE (FRENCH 1869-1954) Monsieur Loyal 1947 

Estimate £3,000 - £5,000

“Monsieur Loyal’s profile stands out against the blue of his traditional suit, with gold buttons”



Refrence; Gilles and Xavier Gilles Néret, Henri Matisse Cut-outs Drawing with Scissors, Taschen, 2009


We are pleased to consistently offer works by Henri Matisse through our Prints and Multiples department, and particularly pleased to be offering this selection of original pochoir prints in our Prints and Multiples Auction on Tuesday 13th February 2024. Please do contact the department with any enquiries into buying or selling prints and editions by Henri Matisse.