In 1941 Matisse underwent surgery for cancer and for much of the remainder of his life he was confined to his bed or wheelchair. As a way of overcoming such restrictions, many of his late works were made with coloured paper which he cut with scissors and pasted on to another sheet. In 1942 the publisher Elf Tériade commissioned Matisse to make a book of colour images. Matisse conceived it as a book on the circus although began to incorporate other subjects and motifs. In 1944 he decided to include accompanying hand-written texts, which served to create breathing spaces between the brightly coloured images. The text offers a series of loosely connected thoughts on painting, life and the making of the book. The title, 'Jazz' was intended to reflect the vibrancy and rhythm of the images.