Historic Hudson Valley’s first smartphone app: Union Church goes digital


Friday, 1/6/2012 4:30pm

A new smartphone and iPad app that captures the magic of the Matisse and Chagall windows at the Union Church of Pocantico Hills can be downloaded for free on the web or in Apple’s App Store.

Matisse and Chagall in Rockefeller Country, the first app created by Historic Hudson Valley, will make its official debut at the Winter Antiques Show. Event organizers have chosen Historic Hudson Valley for the show’s loan exhibition, which will include not only the app displayed on a mounted iPad, but some of HHV’s finest artifacts. “Celebrating Historic Hudson Valley at 60: Rockefeller Patronage in Sleepy Hollow Country” includes pieces that exemplify the multi-generational Rockefeller legacy of research-based collecting, preservation, and interpretation of history.

The app will complement the objects on display and allow Historic Hudson Valley to showcase the incredible windows at Union Church, one of the historic sites which HHV owns and operates. Though it will help fill in what would otherwise be a missing part of HHV’s collection at the Winter Antiques Show, the app has a broader goal of bringing the incredible story of the windows to an audience far and wide, who won’t necessarily be able to visit the actual church.

In 1954, Henri Matisse, one of the art world’s great masters, lay dead. The fate of his final work, a stained-glass window destined for installation in a small stone church in New York’s countryside, was unknown to the Rockefeller sons who commissioned it as a bold memorial to their beloved mother, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. In his 80s and ailing, Matisse initially declined the commission. Museum of Modern Art director Alfred Barr convinced him to accept…but could he complete it? Later, after the death of Abby’s husband, the great philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the sons sought another stained glass memorial, this time from Marc Chagall, who eventually created a total of nine stained glass windows for the church.

Thanks to Matisse and Chagall in Rockefeller Country, now those who cannot visit the church can see these amazing windows and learn the incredible story that ties together art and history, life and death, and two of the greatest artists of our time.

Both the app, which was underwritten by Michael Altman Fine Art & Advisory Services LLC, and the 2012 loan exhibition mark the 60th anniversary of John D. Rockefeller Jr.'s founding of Sleepy Hollow Restorations, now Historic Hudson Valley. The Winter Antiques Show will run from January 20-29 at the Park Avenue Armory, 67th Street and Park Avenue in New York City.

Get the app now via this link or from the App Store, and let us know what you think!

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