Marie-Alain Couturier (1897-1954) was a French priest who was active in bringing avant-garde art and architecture into the Catholic Church. For over twenty years, he was the chief editor of the review L'Art Sacré, an influential magazine among art critics, and this role had stimulated him to bring modern art into new churches. Couturier was responsible for the first abstract stained glass windows in any church at the Le Raincy (built by Auguste Perret in 1923). He became closed to some of the key figures in the French avant-garde: Fernand Leger, Henri Matisse, Jacques Lipchitz, and initiated commissions that came to introduce abstract art and architecture to the Church. He was responsible for the Chapelle du Saint-Marie du Rosaire by Henri Matisse (1950); for the Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut by Le Corbusier (1954); for the Church of Notre-Dame de Toute Grace du Plateau d'Assy he acquired works by Matisse, Bonnard, Lurçat, Rouault, Léger, Bazaine, Chagall, Berçot, and Briançon (1938-1949); for the Church of Sacré Cœur d'Audincourt with stained glass by Fernand Léger and mosaic and stained glass by Jean Bazaine; for the convent Sainte Marie de La Tourette at Eveux-sur-l'Arbresle by Le Corbusier (1960); and for the Rothko Chapel commissioned by John and Dominique de Menil in Huston. His passion for art inspired the de Menils to start collecting, and eventually to create the Menil Collection for their 15,000 pieces of art.
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