Le Lagon [The Lagoon]
© Succession H. Matisse / DACS 2013

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Le Lagon [The Lagoon] Published 1947
Directly related to his memories of Tahiti, this work by Matisse is part of the publication, ‘Jazz’. In 1942 the publisher, Elf Tériade, commissioned Matisse to make a book of colour images. Matisse selected 'Jazz' as the title to reflect the vibrancy and rhythm of the images. It was conceived as a book on the circus, but he began to incorporate other subjects and motifs, such as the lagoon. Matisse described the three lagoon works in ‘Jazz’ to his nurse, Lydia Delectorskaya: “simply the shimmering colours of the tropics, with animals or undulating forms, evocations of calm waters”. Following surgery for cancer in 1941, Matisse began to work with cut-outs; the sensual forms of the cut paper became an iconic part of his practice.

Glossary Open


When an individual or organisation employs an artist to execute a particular project, the process and the resulting work are termed a ‘commission’.


A distinctive element in a work of art or design.

Commission, Motif


  • Acc. No. GMA 2284 R
  • Medium Pochoir print
  • Size 42.00 x 65.50 cm (opened page size)
  • Credit Purchased 1981