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MARC CHAGALLRussian / French 1887 - 1985

Provenance
Private collection, Paris.
Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, New York, 11 November 1999, lot 317.
Private collection, United States, by whom acquired at the above sale;
Christie's, New York, 5 May 2010, lot 248.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.

Exhibitions
Beijing, Palais des Beaux Arts de Chine, Marc Chagall, 1994, no. 61.
Balingen, Stadthalle, Marc Chagall: Ursprung und Wege, June - September 1998, no. 51 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Liège, Musée des Beaux-Arts, September - December 1998.

MARC CHAGALLRussian / French 1887 - 1985

Marc Chagall was born and brought up in Vitebsk in Russia. He moved to Paris in 1910 and lived in La Ruche with several other notable artists and writers of his day including Guillaume Apollinaire, Max Jacob, Roger de La Fresnaye and Amedeo Modigliani. Though initially the Cubists formed a strong influence on his work, Chagall never belonged to a particular style or movement, preferring to paint his dreams vividly albeit at times with a semi-abstract slant. His wife, Bella, and daughter Ida were the loves of his life and though Bella died in 1944 his paintings in his later life are still imbued with a wonderfully positive spirit.

The work of Marc Chagall expresses his vision of the powers of love and the creative imagination. His oeuvre was inspired by the iconography of Russian folklore and his Eastern European origins, Greek mythology, and increasingly by the Bible later in his career. Though his biblical works are influenced by a religious upbringing, his familiarity with Hebrew manuscript painting and his friendship with Bible scholars; they are imbued, too, with a deeply personal understanding that transcends sectarian specificity. Art critic Robert Hughes referred to Chagall as “the quintessential Jewish artist of the twentieth century”, though Chagall saw his work as “not the dream of one people but of all humanity”.

In the 1950s Picasso noted that “When Matisse dies Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what colour really is”. Chagall is today represented in every major collection of modern art in the world. His distinctive paintings are a highlight of most auctions of Impressionist and 20th century art and in May 2013 ‘Trois Acrobates’ fetched over $13 million at auction