Cover image for The Vence Chapel : the archive of a creation
Title:
The Vence Chapel : the archive of a creation
Author:
Matisse, Henri, 1869-1954.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Chapelle de Vence. English
Publication Information:
Milan, Italy : Skira Editore ; Houston, Tex. : Menil Foundation, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
472 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
General Note:
Translation of: La chapelle de Vence.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9788881184026
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library NK2192.F84 M3813 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

Henri Matisse: The Vence Chapel, The Archive of a Creation Conversations and Correspondence with Marie-Alain Couturier and Louis-Bertrand Rayssiguier Edited and introduced by Marcel Billot Henri Matisse devoted four years of his life to designing the Vence Chapel, his "crowning achievement," as he himself stated on several occasions. Though the circumstances which led to the creation of this unique building are well known--the project originated with Sister Jacques-Marie, who nursed the aging painter back to health after his brush with death in 1942--the story of the Chapel's construction has long remained shrouded in mystery. Much of the material in this book is drawn from the Couturier Archives. The bulk of the archive consists of the notes of Brother Louis-Bertrand Rayssiguier, the young Dominican monk who drew the plan of the Chapel and worked closely with Matisse on all phases of its building and decorating. From December 1947 to June 1951, Rayssiguier met frequently with the artist and recorded their conversations verbatim. His notes allow the reader to follow day by day the unfolding of one of the supreme masterpieces of religious art in the twentieth century. Even more significantly, they give us a rare glimpse into the artist's private world. They chronicle his disappointments and his moments of elation, his habits and his foibles, his reactions to contemporary developments in the art world, as well as his deepest personal beliefs. Gifted with an unusually keen sense of observation, Rayssiguier shows us Matisse at work as well as Matisse relaxing in the intimacy of his own home. Completing this invaluable record, the correspondence between Matisse and Father Marie-Alain Couturier, the Dominican priest at the forefront of the post-World War II movement to commission works of religious art from leading modern painters and sculptors, details the creation of the Chapel's most remarkable feature--Matisse's bold stained-glass windows. An expert on stained glass and the chief editor of L'Art sacre, an influential review devoted to religious art around the world, Courutier took care of all the logistical and technical matters relating to these great windows. The numerous letters he and the artist exchanged are in themselves a fascinating exchange on the art and the significance of modern stained glass. This archive charts a unique journey to the heart of artistic creativity. The compilation of documents published here for the first time in English is abundantly illustrated with sketches by Matisse and photographic records that show the successive stages of the Chapel's completion.


Author Notes

Next to Picasso, Matisse is probably the greatest and most versatile artist of modernism. His long career embraced most of the currents of postimpressionist art, in all of which he created highly personal works of remarkable beauty and subtlety.

Born in Picardie, France, Matisse came to Paris as a youth to study law, but soon began to study painting under such conventional masters as Bouguereau. Later, he moved to impressionism and fell under the influence of Cezanne; soon after, he was using pure color in the style that characterized the Fauves (The Wild Beasts), an innovative school of art whose leading master he became. Subsequently, Matisse went through an expressionist phase, during which he was much affected by African and Near Eastern art. In that period, flat decorative patterns in brilliant colors predominated in his work, such as "La Danse" and "La Musique."

In 1914, Matisse went to live on the Riviera, where he remained for the rest of his long life. Here, his great series of Odalisques occupied him until the 1930's. His last major work was the decoration of a convent chapel at Venice. Matisse was also a book illustrator of originality, a highly individual sculptor, and a creator of extraordinary paper cutouts, in which he composed pictures using pieces of brightly colored paper. Despite severe arthritis, Matisse worked until his death at the age of 85. In 1992, a major exhibition of his works was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; the extraordinarily large attendance only confirmed his place as one of the greatest French painters of the twentieth century.

(Bowker Author Biography)


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