Marc Chagall images and biography
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Marc Chagall


See also: Marc Chagall - Online catalogue of the printed graphic work

Text from "ART20, The Thames and Hudson Multimedia Dictionary of Modern Art"

"Marc Chagall: Russian-born French painter. Born to a humble Jewish family in the ghetto of a large town in White Russia, Chagall passed a childhood steeped in Hasidic culture. Very early in life he was encouraged by his mother to follow his vocation and she managed to get him into a St Petersburg art school. Returning to Vitebsk, he became engaged to Bella Rosenfeld (whom he married twelve years later), then, in 1910, set off for Paris, 'the Mecca of art'. He was a tenant at La Ruche, where he had Modigliani and Soutine for neighbours. His Slav Expressionism was tinged with the influence of Daumier, Jean-François Millet, the Nabis and the Fauves. He was also influenced by Cubism. Essentially a colourist, Chagall was interested in the Simultaneist vision of Robert Delaunay and the Luminists of the Section d'Or.

"Chagall returned to Vitebsk in 1914, where he was caught by the outbreak of the First World War. He married Bella there in 1915. He was appointed provincial Commissar for Fine Art in 1917 and became involved in ambitious projects for a local academy, but he left after two and a half years in order to escape the revolutionary dictates of Malevich. After a stay in Moscow, where he worked in the Jewish theatre, then in Berlin, where he studied the technique of engraving, he returned to Paris in 1923. For the publisher Vollard he illustrated Gogol's Dead Souls, La Fontaine's Fables and the Bible. Breton, who admired the 'total lyric explosion' of his pre-war painting, tried to claim him for Surrealism but Chagall only flirted with it briefly during his exile in New York (1941-48). His emblematic irrationality shook off all outside influences: colour governed his compositions, calling up chimerical processions of memory where reality and the imaginary are woven into a single legend, born in Vitebsk and dreamed in Paris. Back in 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), the Paris Opéra (1963). The Musée Chagall in Nice dedicated to the 'Biblical Message' set the seal on his fame in July 1973. A painter-poet celebrated by Apollinaire and Cendrars, Chagall brought back the forgotten dimension of metaphor into French formalism."

Further reading on Chagall:
  • My Life, by Marc Chagall. "A lyrical memoir of the artist's early life with 50 illustrations by the author".

  • Chagall. Value-priced monograph from Abradale Press, with 60 illustrations.

  • Chagall, by Ingo F. Walther. Another Chagall monograph, from the always excellent Taschen series.

  • Chagall: My Sad and Joyous Village, by Jacqueline Loumaye. Aimed at children ages nine through twelve.

  • Chagall: The Lithographs, edited by Christofer Conrad. The catalogue raisonné of more than 1,000 Chagall lithographs.

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Chagall Images

* Links to other Chagall images online can be found at Artcyclopedia.
1911 Dedicated to my Fiancée
1911 I and the Village
1911 The Violinist
1911 To Russia, Asses and Others
1911 The Poet (Half Past Three)
1911 Russian Village under the Moon
1912 Soldiers
1912-1913 Maternity
1912-1913 The Violinist
1913 Paris Through My Window
c. 1913-1914 Self-Portrait with Seven Fingers
1915 Birthday
1917 The Blue House
1917 The Grey House
1929 The Woman and the Roses
1938 White Crucifixion
1943 The Juggler
1960-1963 The Tribe of Levi
1967 The Good Samaritan

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