Print of Marc Chagall’s right hand at 81 years of age (1968).
Posts tagged Chagall.
“My name is Marc, my emotional life is sensitive and my purse is empty, but they say I have talent.”
photo by Ara Güler (Marc Chagall, France-1969.)
Marc Chagall - Frontispiece for a French limited edition of The Diary of Anne Frank (1959 lithograph)
Marc Chagall | The Red Jew, 1914-15
Marc Chagall early sketchbook
“Alone, Without You: The sketch by Marc Chagall early in the sketchbook depicts the couple embracing in a moment of unfettered abandon. It appears facing one of the Yiddish poems that Bella translated from French.” (via The Forward)
Marc Chagall - ‘Clock with Blue Wing’
Marc Chagall, Self-Portrait. Time Magazine, 30 July 1965.
In [Seth] Wolitz’s opinion, Chagall’s standout piece of graphic art appears in “Troyer” (“Grief,” or “Mourning”), an art book published in Kiev in 1922. A collaboration between Chagall and Yiddish poet Dovid Hofshteyn, “Troyer” is a cry of outrage against the ruthless destruction of Jewish shtetls in Ukraine during the Civil War pogroms of 1919 and 1920. Proceeds from sales benefited Jewish children orphaned in the pogroms.
The Chagall of “Troyer” is decidedly not the Chagall of floating lovers and errant violins. He depicts the murderous violence bitterly decried in Hofshteyn’s narrative poems, in images of swords, axes, mutilations and blood, done in spare graphics and representational Yiddish lettering. Most notable, according to Wolitz, is Chagall’s use of diagonal lines, characteristic of the suprematist school of art founded by his Russian rival, Kazimir Malevich. Suprematism represented the best of new Russian culture, but in “Troyer,” Chagall co-opted it to mock that culture and display its brutality. “This is protest in the highest style,” Wolitz said. He notes that Chagall never again used his art for polemic purposes. (via The Jewish Daily Forward)
Snow, Winter in Vitebsk
From the Met:“Chagall painted “Snow, Winter in Vitebsk,” about 1911, while he was living in Paris. His memories of Russia fueled his imagination, and thus the series of gouaches he painted during those years are referred to as “Russian recollections.” These include several nocturnal views of the suburbs of Vitebsk. “Snow”—the word is twice inscribed in Cyrillic in the center foreground—is larger than most of the other gouaches in the series. A string of colorful timber houses with high pitched roofs separates the night sky from the snowy plain in which adults pull children on sleds. The cupolas of one of Vitebsk’s numerous churches rise at the far right. The luminous colors and naive accents of this image—from the decorated window shutters to the droll, rotund couple evocative of wooden dolls—are elements borrowed from Russian folk art. The figure in the center of the composition, however, seems of a different mettle. Wearing boots, baggy pants, and a patterned blouse, he has about him all the elegance of a dancer from Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, then captivating Paris.”
Marc Chagall, White Crucifixion, 1938
oil on canvas
Chagall painted “White Crucifixion” to draw attention to a recent series of political events perpetrated by the ruling National Socialist party in Germany. Both as a Jew and as an abstract artist, Chagall was a target of Hitler’s art censorship policies. His dealer in Germany, Herwarth Walden, was forced to close his Berlin gallery (Der Sturm), cease publication of its influential newsletter, and flee to the Soviet Union in 1932. In 1937, the Nazis undertook a systematic inventory of modern art in German museums, removing some 16,000 works unacceptable to their taste to use in propaganda campaigns, to destroy, or to sell outside the country. Four works by Chagall were among those included in the ‘Jewish’ room of the infamous ‘Degenerate Art’ exhibition staged in Munich at the end of 1937, which mocked deviations from Nazi Party art standards. Meanwhile, anti-Jewish policies in Germany escalated to an unthinkable level. Following the September 1935 laws to curtail the civil rights of Jews, the Nazis in 1938 took a Jewish census and registered all Jewish businesses as preliminaries to plans for ethnic genocide. In June and August of that year the synagogues in Munich and Nuremberg were destroyed, and on November 9, the so-called Crystal Night, these anti-semitic atrocities reached a climax.
In reaction, Chagall conceived a painting of the martyrdom of the Jew Jesus as a universal symbol for religious persecution. Instead of a crown of thorns, the Jesus on Chagall’s picture wears a head-cloth and a prayer shawl around his loins. The round halo around his head is repeated by the round glow around the Menorah at his feet. Mourning his persecution, figures of the Hebrew patriarchs and the matriarch Rachel appear in the smoke-filled nightime sky. All around the cross, Chagall has depicted a bleak snowscape with horrific scenes of modern Germany. In the background to the right, a soldier opens the doors of a flaming Torah ark removed from a pillaged synagogue, the contents of which litter the foreground. Both the flag above the synagogue and the soldier’s armband originally were decorated with inverted swastikas. One of the fleeing figures in the foreground at the left wears a sign which originally bore the inscription “Ich bin Jude” (‘I am a Jew’). In the background above is a ship full of refugees trying ineffectively to flee a burning village, destroyed before the arrival of a liberating People’s Army from the Soviet Union carrying red flags; this last detail was wishful thinking, motivated by the antagonism of Stalin’s government toward Hitler’s before 1939.
Included in an exbition of Chagall’s works in Paris in early 1940, the “White Crucifixion” was designed to raise awareness of the events in Hitler’s Germany and their implications for mankind in general. Evidently the artist decided to paint over the most explicit historical details after the invasion of France in May 1940 or after the German army’s occupation of Paris, begun in June 1940. Chagall himself fled the first occupied zone for Marseilles, and with the help to (sic) the Museum of Modern Art in New York, escaped to his country for the duration of the war. This historic painting is discussed in detail in an article by Ziva Amishai-Maisels, Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, published in the Art Institute’s journal “Museum Studies” (vol. 17, no. 2). (via The Amica Library)