Marc Chagall (1887 - 1985)


  • Marc Chagall (1887 - 1985)

    Repos du clown avec le bouc vert

    Gouache, India ink and pastel on paper
    61 x 48 cm (24 x 18 ⁷/₈ inches)
    Stamped lower left, Marc Chagall
    Executed in November 1971, in Washington
  • Marc Chagall (1887 - 1985)

    Deux profils verts au cirque

    Gouache, pastel, ink and collage on paper
    50.9 x 32.8 cm (20 x 12 ⁷/₈ inches)
    Stamped lower right, Chagall
    Executed in 1966
  • Marc Chagall (1887 - 1985)

    Couple sur le cheval dans le ciel

    Gouache, India ink and charcoal on paper
    62.5 x 46.7 cm (24 ⁵/₈ x 18 ³/₈ inches)
    Signed lower right, Marc Chagall
    Executed in 1950-54
  • Marc Chagall (1887 - 1985)

    Profil de femme et main au coq

    Gouache, watercolour, pastel, brush and India ink and inkwash on paper
    76 x 56 cm (29 ⁷/₈ x 22 inches)
    Signed lower right, Marc Chagall
    Executed in 1962
  • Marc Chagall (1887 - 1985)

    Fête au Village

    Gouache and crayon on Japon paper
    56.7 x 76.8 cm (22 ⅜ x 30 ¼ inches)
    Signed lower right, Chagall Marc
    Executed in 1969
  • Marc Chagall (1887 - 1985)

    Peintre au Chevalet au Bouc Jaune

    Gouache, tempera, pastel, coloured crayon and Chinese ink on paper
    76.1 x 56.4 cm (30 x 22 ¹/₄ inches)
    Signed with Estate stamp lower left, Marc Chagall
    Executed circa 1976
  • Marc Chagall (1887 - 1985)

    Couple Allongé au Grand Bouquet

    Gouache, tempera, pastel and Chinese ink on paper
    76.1 x 56.9 cm (30 x 22 ³/₈ inches)
    Signed with Estate stamp lower left, Marc Chagall
    Executed circa 1978
  • Marc Chagall (1887 - 1985)

    Esquisse pour "Commedia dell'arte" (pour le foyer du théâtre de Francfort)

    India ink, pen and pencil on paper
    26.2 x 36.2 cm (10 ¹/₄ x 14 ¹/₄ inches)
    Signed and dated upper right, 1958 Marc Chagall, signed again towards the centre, Marc
    Inscribed centre left, Vence and centre right, Vitebsk

  • Marc Chagall (1887 - 1985)

    Rêve Nocturne de Deux Clowns en Rouge

    Indian ink, gouache, coloured pencil, pastel and pencil on paper
    36.5 x 27.2 cm (14 ³/₈ x 10 ³/₄ inches)
    Signed with Estate stamp lower left, Marc Chagall
    Executed in 1971
  • Marc Chagall (1887 - 1985)


    Indian ink on paper
    35.6 x 26.9 cm (14 x 10 ⅝ inches)
    Signed with Estate stamp lower left, Marc Chagall
    Executed in 1958-59

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The Russian-born French painter Marc Chagall was born in 1887 to a humble Jewish family in the ghetto of Vitebsk, a large town in White Russia, and passed his childhood steeped in Hasidic culture. Very early in life, Chagall was encouraged by his mother to follow his vocation after she managed to get him into an art school in St Petersburg.

After completing his studies in St Petersburg, Chagall returned to Vitebsk and became engaged to Bella Rosenfeld. In 1910 he set off for Paris which was regarded as “the Mecca of art” and as a tenant at La Ruche, Chagall was in the thick of the artistic community, living alongside both Modigliani and Soutine. During this time in Paris, Chagall’s work was tinged with the influence of Daumier, Jean-François Millet, the Nabis and the Fauves, and he was also influenced by Cubism.

Chagall returned to Vitebsk in 1914, and in 1915, he married Bella. In 1917 he was appointed provincial Commissar for Fine Art and became involved in ambitious projects for a local academy. However, two and a half years later he was forced to leave in order to escape the revolutionary dictates of Malevich.

After a time in Moscow where he worked in the Jewish theatre, then in Berlin where he studied the technique of engraving, Chagall returned to Paris in 1923. He illustrated Gogol’s Dead Souls, La Fontaine's Fables and the Bible for the publisher Vollard.

The French Surrealist Andre Breton admired the "total lyric explosion" of Chagall's pre-war painting and tried to claim that Chagall was a surrealist, although Chagall himself admitted only to having flirted with Surrealism between 1941 and 1948 during his exile in New York. Indeed, Chagall’s emblematic irrationality shook off all outside influences. His compositions were governed largely by colour. Using images from his memory he wove reality and imagination into a single legend, one that was born in Vitebsk and dreamed in Paris.

On his return to France, Chagall discovered ceramics, sculpture and stained glass. He settled in the south of France, first at Vence (1950), then in Saint-Paul-de-Vence (1966). Commissions poured in: for the Assy Baptistery in 1957, the cathedrals of Metz (1960) and Rheims (1974), the Hebrew University Medical Centre synagogue in Jerusalem (1960) and the Paris Opéra (1963). A painter-poet, celebrated by Apollinaire and Cendrars, Chagall brought back the forgotten dimension of metaphor into French formalism.
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