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“Breathtaking Windows”

Union Church of Pocantico Hills
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: This unassuming country church contains a stained glass window by Henri Matisse, his last work of art, and nine windows by Marc Chagall.The works create a dramatic combination of light and color, art and spirituality.Visitors marvel at the colorful rose window created for the church by Henri Matisse. The design for the window was his last work of art before his death in 1954. The commission, spearheaded by Nelson A. Rockefeller, honors the memory of his mother, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. Mrs. Rockefeller, one of the founders of the Museum of Modern Art, admired Matisse, collected his work, and entertained him in her home in New York City.The glorious Good Samaritan window by Marc Chagall is a memorial to Abby Aldrich Rockefeller's husband, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Their son David Rockefeller masterminded the commission in 1963, which later expanded to include all eight windows in the nave of the church. They memorialize, among others, Michael Clark Rockefeller, Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, Peggy Rockefeller (Mrs. David Rockefeller), and Mary Rockefeller (Mrs. Laurance Rockefeller). Chagall and members of the Rockefeller family carefully selected the subject matter for the windows from Biblical texts.The enthralling story of the windows, and how they came to be here, is the story of relationships among distinguished patrons and collectors of modern art, two great 20th-century artists, and the leading connoisseurs and tastemakers of the day.
Reviewed 2 August 2014

The small church in Pocantico Hills is a real hidden jewel. The church was built by the Rockefellers and they commissioned a rose window from Henri Matisse and a set of stained glass windows from Marc Chagall. The Church is open to visitors for a small fee and a guide will walk you around the windows giving you background. But it is nice just to sit in the church and take in the beauty of the art. There is also an app for the church that gives the background on the windows. You don't need to spend a lot of time here, but it is well worth taking the time to see this little place.

Thank mdtraveller2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (118)
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75 - 79 of 118 reviews

Reviewed 29 July 2014

From the outside, this looks like a simple and very tidy small church near Kykuit. But go inside and one discovers that the side windows and main glass window were painted by Marc Chagall! A rose window was done by Henri Matisse. Seeing these special windows, commissioned by the Rockefellers, is worth the admission to this attraction. Tours are given regularly. The tour guide was very knowledgeable about the history of each of the windows and its purpose. When we went, there seemed to be more than enough parking. A must see if you are in the area to see Kykuit.

Thank JCArchT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 July 2014

This small church has a window by Matisse and several by Chagall. The Matisse window behind the altar was ordinary, the Chagall windows were awe-inducing. They are all based on Old Testament passages since Chagall was, of course, Jewish. Nevertheless their beauty in the small space is hypnotic. One of the docents was quite rude but the other took her place and did a fine job. Not to be missed.

Thank YerBuddy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 July 2014

Our visit to this picturesque church with its unique stained glass windows was a highlight of our visit to the Hudson River valley. It is a small chapel rather than a sanctuary. It reminded us of many small Midwestern churches we have been in, with the simple Calvinistic furnishings and flags by on the altar. The guide did an outstanding job of making the description of the single Matisse window and the eight Chagall windows a story about the area, the congregation, the Rockefeller family, and the artists themselves. If you know nothing of modern art, as I do, you will still appreciate the depictions and their interpretation. Highly recommended, but not for families with children who (no surprise) would find nothing of interest.

Thank Donald W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 June 2014

This small church became the Rockefeller Family church when they were in the country at their estate, Kykuit. The church is famed for its 9 Chagall windows, designed specifically for the setting, the Rockefeller Family's memorials, and Biblical figures, mostly prophets, whose messages were important to the family. The glory is the large window in the rear of the chuirch, which should be seen in the afternoon sun. The morning is the best time to see the single Matisse window over the altar. It was his last completed work before he died. The pews are original; the tour guides (you have to take one of the $7 tours if a docent is present) do not go into the furnishings of the sanctuary or the attractive landscaping. Parking is available on the grounds. So are restrooms. Definitely worth a visit.

Thank Elizabeth M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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