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Salvador Dali

Marc Chagall, 1887-1985

Russian Painter, illustrator, ceramist, designer.

Known as a Parisian artist, Marc Chagall always maintained an interest in his Russian origins and his Jewish heritage. His oeuvre is an amalgam of eastern Judaic spirituality, Hasidism, Russian folk art and French modernity. Although Chagall cannot be classified under one artistic movement, the influence of Orphism, the magic of Henri Rousseau and the religious fervor of Georges Rouault all join forces in his works to create a separate universe—a world with a passion for fairytales and recurring themes of clowns, violinists, angels, lovers and the Eiffel Tower.

Chagall’s contributions to modern painting are singular due to his uniqueness of expression. During the 1920s, he formed friendships with Russian avant-garde poets and painters, which further grounded his works in a whimsical style. Chagall went on to expand his artistic virtuosity by participating in several unique projects. Each contribution—from his illustrations of timeless love stories like Daphnis and Chloe, his assembly of stained glass windows for monumental places, his woven tapestries for the Knesset, and his creation of murals for the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City—can be interpreted as a mystical contribution from one of the most original modern artists of our time.

As a master of lyrical scenes, Chagall’s messages are best delivered in his graphic works, particularly his chromolithographs. Chagall was thirty-five when he was first introduced to printmaking. The artist instantly responded to the medium, producing his first etchings for a portfolio entitled My Life, 1923 in just three weeks. His transparently overlaid, glowing images have illustrated some of the most beautiful stories ever written, such as Nikolai Gogol’s novel Les Ames mortes. This classic Russian text was to be Chagall’s first book collaboration with the renowned publisher and collector Ambroise Vollard. Today, Chagall’s graphic works remain one the finest collections in the history of art.


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