Marc Chagall (1887 - 1985)

Deux profils verts au cirque

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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

+44 (0)20 7629 6662
  • Provenance

    Estate of the artist
    Private collection, UK

  • Description

    This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from the Comité Chagall. 

    This colourful circus scene from 1966, is an elegant depiction one of Chagall’s most popular subjects. His fascination with the circus stemmed from his childhood in Vitebsk, Russia, where travelling acrobats would perform on the streets for gathered crowds. During the 1920’s when Chagall lived in Paris and was still enthralled by the spectacle, he spent many evenings accompanying his art dealer Ambroise Vollard to the circus. He captured these scenes throughout his life, from as early as Village Fair executed in 1908. 

    Here, the classic Chagall blue in combination with striking lime greens and flashes of pink, conjure the energy of the performers, and make Deux profils verts au cirque a particularly attractive piece. It is a joyous scene, laden with many of the elements that collectors look for in his work.

    This original Marc Chagall piece is available for immediate purchase. 

Artist's Biography

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.

Marc Chagall