'Painting with scissors'

Matisse's rare Jazz print series at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions

Click here to view the catalogue online

Henri Matisse's cut-outs have been receiving floods of visitors at the Tate Modern exhibition Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs which opened earlier this year. On Thursday 3rd July Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions are offering collectors and investors the opportunity to take home some of the fascinating and rare cut-out works from the final chapter of Matisse's diverse and influential career in a sale of Modern & Contemporary Prints.

Despite ill health that left him immobile and unable to paint or draw freely, Matisse embarked on a new phase of his career that would prove to be his most influential and celebratory. Taking inspiration from the circus he used a pair of scissors to cut lively shapes from brightly coloured gouache-painted paper creating a series of paper cut-outs, papier decoupés, which were published in Jazz, 1947, a limited-edition book containing colour pochoirs of the paper cut collages, accompanied by his written thoughts. Widely regarded as the most important artist's book of the 20th Century, it is scarce that individual plates from Jazz, such as these, should appear at auction.

A union between drawing and colour, Matisse called this dynamic style "painting with scissors".

Originally intended as illustrations for a poetry collection, Matisse instead replaced the verse with his own notes, which were originally written with a paintbrush in looping letters.

Henri Matisse: "You see as I am obliged to remain often in bed because of the state of my health, I have made a little garden all around me where I can walk…There are leaves, fruits and a bird."

The combination of vivid colours with abstract and figurative subject matter evokes a glorious celebration of life against adversity. These highly sought after Jazz prints echo today as one of the most beautiful and ground-breaking series of 20th century art.

The Modern & Contemporary Print sale will be held at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions' on Thursday 3rd July 2014 at Bloomsbury House in London's Mayfair. Viewing will be available from Sunday 19th June until the day of the sale. The illustrated catalogue is available to download or view online at www.bloomsburyauctions.com


Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions are a UK 'top 5' auctioneer of fine art and collectibles. As part of Stanley Gibbons we are the only UK stock-exchange listed firm of auctioneers and occupy the same stable as coin specialists Baldwin's, and Frasers Autograph's. Established in 1759, we have the broadest and most regular calendar of specialist catalogued sales in the industry, numbering over 150 per annum, and provide vendors and buyers alike access to market-leading specialist advice in any number of collecting fields. We operate from salerooms in Donnington Priory (near Newbury), London's Mayfair, Bristol and Godalming.

London - 23rd June 2014