Sunday, May 19, 2013

Union Church: Matisse's Last Work and Nine Chagall's

On Mother's Day I took my wife and two sons to the Union Church of Pocantico Hills in Westchester.  Matisse's supposed last work is in this modest church: a stained glass window above the chancel commissioned by the Rockefeller Family.  The Matisse "Rose Window" was created in memory of Abby Aldrich and dedicated to her on Mother's Day in 1956, two years after a maquette was found in Matisse's studio at the time of his death... he had finished the piece just two days prior to dying.

But this isn't the only stained glass window in the church that was created by a modern master... Marc Chagall in 1964 created a large window inspired by the parable of the Good Samaritan in the rear of the church and two years later finished another eight side windows depicting prophets.

While Matisse's "Rose Window" reflects the paper cut-outs he had worked on during the last phase of his career and was replicated in stained glass by a master craftsman, Marc Chagall's windows have the touch of the artist's hand.  According to the Union Church brochure...
Like Matisse, Chagall uses colored glass, but it is glass which has been etched with acid to create gradations of color within each piece.  Once the pieces are assembled, Chagall paints on it as if pinging on a canvas.  Using a black glass paint called grisaille, he creates the details in the figures and mitigates the light.  Chagall adjusts and manipulates the grisaille with brushes, brush handles, metal instruments, and even his fingers.  Lastly, he brushes on a yellow silver stain to give the windows their final sparks of color.

*** Note: all images were found on-line

1 comment:

  1. When you get the chance, would you add the verses that he was depicting. Thank you for posting these photos. This church is a treasure.