matisse:jazz series

” matisse jazz series are brilliant examples of decorative colors- the effect is that of flat-colored areas placed against a background. in some examples of jazz series we can speak of one place color, since not particular color area remains as background but all insist on becoming figures against another colored ground. the effect is often ambiguous. ..the yellow stars clearly read as on the blue and the black figure reads ambigously as behind and as in front of blue. in part this depends on what part of the figure we are observing; the red “ heart” pushes the upper part of the black figure into the further plane while the lower figure reads as in front of the blue. our interest is quite wonderfully divided among the four colors- neither blue, nor black , nor yellow, nor red is allowed to slip away from our attention for even an instant.” 

source:color in art, a tribute to arthur pope, fog art museum. harvard