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Hardcover Jazz Book

ISBN: 080761291X

ISBN13: 9780807612910


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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

Late in his life, confined to a chair or bed, Matisse transformed a simple technique into a medium for the creation of a major art. "I have attained a form filtered to its essentials." Cutting dynamic shapes from painted paper, Matisse created his images. While producing pieces for Jazz, the artist used a large brush to write notes to himself on construction paper. The simple visual appearance of the words pleased Matisse, and he suggested using his...

Customer Reviews

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A Top Candidate as the Finest 20th Century Art Book!

Many artists run out of steam before their life ends. Their final work either wanders off in unpromising directions or maunders in repetition of themes already better explored earlier. Matisse was a happy exception. His work continued to be refined and improved. Jazz is arguably his best work and one of the few affordable ways for each of us to view outstanding art in the format for which it was designed. Where most illustrated books (including other books illustrated by Matisse) accompany a text by a poet or an author, Jazz is based on a text by Matisse. The text, however, is there to create a visual context for the cut-outs. Matisse employed a delightful calligraphy in his own hand to capture his thoughts about how to be an artist. Many artists are very poorly equipped to explain their own work and approaches to creating that work. Matisse once again proves himself to be a giant by producing a text that's as delightful as the brilliant images. The text is, of course, in French, but a simple English translation precedes the displayed material. Riva Castleman opens the book with a fine history of the work inception and execution. Beyond there, you will delight in familiar images. Many of the plates from this book have become cultural icons such as Icarus, Clown, Circus, Horse and Heart. You will doubtless also find new favorites among the various Lagoons and circus-themed cut-outs. What, you ask, is a cut-out? Matisse was too ill to get out of bed to paint. Instead, he took brightly color paper and cut out images that resemble what a precocious child might do. Then, these images were carefully pinned over other colored sheets on a wall and equally carefully moved in response to Matisse's directions by his patient assistant. The work captures a freeness, freshness and frolicsome nature that will make you feel young again. They are a remarkable accomplishment for any artist. They present an unbelievable achievement by someone literally warming their death bed. Even if you don't like modern art, you'll like Jazz. Get the beat!

Possibly the most beautiful book of the 20th Century

Like the style of music for which it is named, Henri Matisse's "Jazz" moves in unexpected rhythms. His first major project in the unique cut-out medium, the book was originally published in a very limited edition. This 1985 edition brings a true work of art to a mass public. "Jazz" is a book all book lovers should own, because it forces you to become more aware of the sheer visual pleasure provided by reading. Matisse's calligraphic text can be appreciated for its beauty by those who do not read French (a translation of the text is provided at the front of the edition), and its cool black-and-white austerity rests the eye from the dazzle provided by the amazing plates. Matisse's colors are so bright they burn themselves onto your retina! Do not resist them, for they will transport you into a world where pure forms float in a limitless space, a world simultaneously serene and vivid.
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