A vintage tipped in image of Henri Matisse's Dominican Chapel of the Rosary, Vence (1948-51) printed in Japan in 1976. Image is hand tipped in on heavy paper and affixed to chipboard backing for ease in styling, propping, or framing.

Image: 9.25" x 7.5"

Commentary at time of printing: “There is a temptation to see in this unique effort an exceptional, isolated incident in the artist's late career, an act of devotion on the part of an atheist, an ex-voto celebrating his recovery from the two serious surgical operations of 1941. Looking back over the artist's career, however, one is aware of keen architectural sensibilities on several levels. His repeated use from an early period of open windows or doors as a key constructive element in his compositions is but one indication; the great "Symphonic Interiors," environmental paintings in a strict sense, are another. The architectural ambitions of the Shchu-kin Dance and Music of 1910 have already been commented on, and the Barnes murals, which Matisse considered completely comprehensible only as an architectural fragment, speak eloquently of his desire to move beyond the realm of easel painting. Here at Vence he had his one opportunity to create a total environment drawing together most of the mediums in which he had already worked. That this, his only architectural project, should have come so late in life is one of the few tragedies of his career, for one can well imagine what might have grown from this tentative beginning.

The details surrounding the commissioning and construction of the chapel, which was built under the architectural supervision of Auguste Perret, are recounted in detail by Alfred Barr. No paintings are present, the role of color being assumed by the stained-glass windows, which establish the interior tonality in such a way that the visitor, if alone, has the sensation of literally walking into one of the artist's paintings, especially one of the large studio interiors. The mural decorations, notably the stations of the cross, are in glazed ceramic tile -architecturally fixed drawings whose shapes Matisse pondered with his customary deliberation. He also modeled the altar crucifix and in addition designed the vestments for the priests. In this context it should be remembered that Matisse had previously, in 1937, designed the sets and costumes for a ballet, Rouge et Noir, for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.

Here, appropriately enough, the background motifs of the Barnes Dance (and even the architectural lunettes) reappear, his vast mural decorations thus lending themselves as a real-life setting for dancers on a stage. This effort must, paradoxically, be recognized as a precedent for the Vence chapel. In the end it is the blue and yellow of the windows and the magical nature of the light which they admit to the simple, functional interior that dominate the entire ensemble, ensuring its unity and establishing the chapel as a unique contribution to the history of contemporary architecture. Here at Vence, Matisse would seem to have definitively transformed the artist's studio seen as a personal visionary earthly paradise--into a sacred place for others whose devotion took an institutional and even public character totally different from his own.”