'Icare' ('Icarus'), plate VIII of XX

From 'Jazz', 1947

Pochoir plate and lithographed text on vélin d'Arches (Arches paper)

‘Icare’ (‘Icarus’), plate VIII of XX from the illustrated book Jazz, 1947.

'Icare' ('Icarus'), plate VIII of XX from the illustrated book Jazz, 1947, Bank of America Merrill Lynch Collection.
© Succession H. Matisse/DACS 2011

The falling figure of Icarus, his heart beating, has become the most iconic image in Jazz. Matisse made his first version in 1943. This led in turn to the creation of Jazz. The yellow forms have been interpreted variously as sunbursts, stars and exploding military shells. The single figures in Jazz are possibly metaphors for the artist.

Matisse cheekily placed this image at the end of the 'Aeroplane' section in Jazz. In Greek mythology, Icarus flew too close to the sun. This melted the wax securing his home-made wings and he fell to his death.

Published in Paris by Efstratios Tériade in 1947

Number 181 of 250 copies