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Abstract: All that Jazz – The story of the creation of one of the 20th century’s finest illustrated books, Matisse’s Jazz.pdf

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    Presented at the Bibliographic Society of Australia and New Zealand (BSANZ) Conference, Canberra, Australia. November 2014 All that Jazz  –   The story of the creation of one of the 20 th   century’s fines t illustrated books, Matisse’s  Jazz . Henri Matisse crossed his own aesthetic boundaries during the dark days of the Nazi occupation of France. He used his emerging technique, paper cutouts, to create his renowned illustrated book  Jazz.  Published in 1947, in a Paris still recovering from the war, it retained Matisse’s veiled anti-Nazi messages.  Jazz  had a phenomenal impact. M atisse’s images, vibrant and colourful, interrupted by his own handwritten but unrelated text, dominated the visual experience. Using scissors, Matisse cut his shapes from hand coloured paper, his assistant Lydia Delectorskaya pinned the cutouts on Matisse’s wall, repositioning them until  Matisse was satisfied that he achieved the desired balance of form and color. Matisse took control, he conceptualised the pictorial themes for  Jazz . He created the visual structure, designed the typographical layout and embedded subtle graphic codes in the images. This paper will reveal the background story of how Matisse created this illustrated book, and the meaning of his cryptic images and his handwritten text. What emerges is that Matisse only created  Jazz  because of the publisher Tériade’s unrelenting persistence over three years .  Jazz  became the third of Teriade’s modernised derivation of the medieval manuscript , the manuscrit moderne . Yet, it was not even going to be a book, its srcinal name was not  Jazz , but during a period of four years, Matisse created what is certainly one of the best-known illustrated books of the 20 th  century.  Jazz , had a political dimension and an unparalleled impact when Teriade released it simultaneously in Paris, New York and Rio de Janeiro
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