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Short Takes: 'Matisse' director to introduce film here
Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Arts & Entertainment writers offer capsule comments on this, that and the other thing ...

'A Model for Matisse'

"A Model for Matisse: The Story of the Vence Chapel" -- a film about how the friendship between the great artist and Dominican Sister Jacques-Marie inspired a transcendent work of art -- is back by popular demand. Carnegie Museum of Art will screen it at 7 p.m. tomorrow following an introduction by producer and director Barbara Freed. (Read a review here.)

Matisse died in 1954, and Sister Jacques-Marie, who is interviewed in the film, died in 2005.

Freed, who is Professor of French Studies at Carnegie Mellon University and has taught and lived in France, debuted the upbeat documentary in November of 2003 at the Matisse Museum in Nice.

Since then, it has been shown by, among others, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C., and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art, New York. The film was awarded the Pierre Salinger Award for Best Documentary at the Avignon/New York Film Festival, New York, in 2005, and the Animanvision & Digital Cut Award for Best Film for Television at the 2004 International Festival of Films on Art, in Montreal, Canada.

Also testifying to the film's popularity is the continuing response, from here and abroad, to the Post-Gazette's fall 2003 review, ranging from inquiries about purchasing a copy of the film to questions such as whether marriages are performed in the Chapel.

In celebration of the screening, the Carnegie is displaying its vibrant, grandly-scaled Matisse cutout, "The Thousand and One Nights" (through Oct. 16). Admission is free to the film, which will be shown in the Carnegie Museum of Art Theater. The gallery displaying Matisse's "Nights" will be open until 7 p.m. and museum admission will be charged to access it. (412-622-3131).

-- Mary Thomas, Post-Gazette art critic

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