In 1964, René Lalou, the head of a champagne House, and Léonard Foujita (1886-1968), a Japanese painter belonging to the “Ecole de Paris” school of art, decided to build a chapel to mark the mystical inspiration Foujita had experienced at the Saint Remi basilica and which had led to his baptism in Reims cathedral on 14 October 1959, with René Lalou as his godfather and Françoise Taittinger as his godmother.
Begun in 1965, the chapel was entirely designed by Foujita, who drew the plans and designed the ironwork, stained glass and sculptures. He supervised the building and interior decoration.
Foujita chose the Romanesque style both to bring out an impression of reverence and because he appreciated frescoes.
Having launched into what was, for him, a completely new and very difficult technique at the age of 80, he was convinced from the outset of the "certainty of his work and the joy of perpetually re-discovering his work". Total sincerity was the inspirational force that guided him.
Careful not to bend to fashion, he had retained the fundamental stylisation that had characterised his artistic beginnings. Foujita chose frescoes because they satisfied his taste in colour. [It is an extremely ancient painting technique that uses fresh plaster, on which the artist must paint very quickly while it is still damp. Fresco painting requires a very steady hand as it is not possible to make corrections because the colour is absorbed very quickly into the plaster]. Remarkable for their freshness, soft lines and curves inspired by oriental art, these compositions are coloured in blues, golds, yellows and greens, as well as very subdued reds verging on brown.
The stained glass is coloured with yellows, greens and blues and the master stained glassworker notably used the same deep yellow found in the stained glass at Troyes, which produces such wonderful effects in the sunlight.
The chapel was consecrated on 1 October 1966 and ceremoniously handed over to the City of Reims on 18 October 1966.
2 May to 31 October inclusive: Daily from 2 to 6pm
Closed Wednesday and 14 July
Outside this period, opened by prior arrangement by calling +33 (0)188.8.131.52.44
Pass Découverte: €3 (valid one month for one admission per museum)
Pass mensuel: €8 (valid one month for unlimited admissions)
Pass annuel: €30 (valid a year for unlimited admissions)
Groups: €1.50 (15 or more people)
Free admission for children up to the age of 16, secondary schoolchildren, students, people on income support (RMI), job seekers and young people registered at the ‘Mission Locale pour la Jeunesse’ in Reims
Free admission on Saturday and the first Sunday of every month.
33, rue du Champ de Mars 51100 Reims
Bus : Line K – “Foujita” stop