Henri Matisse's Chapel of the Rosary

Night nurse needed—Should be young and pretty." So ran the advertisement placed in 1941 by the 71-year-old artist Henri Matisse while he recovered from cancer surgery. Nursing student Monique Bourgeois answered the ad and not only nursed the convalescent painter but also became his model, studio assistant, and close friend. At this point Matisse was experimenting with the cutouts that eventually became the series known as Jazz: essentially drawing with his scissors, he cut brightly painted paper into shapes that his assistants pinned to the wall at his direction. An amateur artist herself, Monique helped to paint the colored paper . . .

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Mary Elizabeth Podles is the retired curator of Renaissance and Baroque art at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. She and her husband Leon, a Touchstone senior editor, have six children and live in Baltimore, Maryland.


more on art from the online archives

30.3—May/June 2017

St. Luke the Evangelist

by Mary Elizabeth Podles

33.2—March/April 2020

Christ Chapel at Hillsdale

An Architectural Sign of Mere Christianity by Michael Ward

32.4—July/August 2019

Sojourner Knight

on Single-Mindedness in Durer's Ritter, Tod, und Teufel by Anthony Costello

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more from the online archives

33.2—March/April 2020

Glory to Be Revealed

on How Bodily Resurrection Informs Social Justice by W. Ross Blackburn

28.5—Sept/Oct 2015

Cambodia's Anti-Exodus

Remembering Angka & the Idolatry of the Khmer Rouge 40 Years Later by Les Sillars

21.8—October 2008

Weed Free

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