Chagall: Love, War, and Exile
"In our life there is a single color, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love." - Marc Chagall
With fall comes the opening of The Jewish Museum's new blockbuster show, Marc Chagall: Love, War, and Exile. For the first time in the U.S., an exhibition truly explores a significant but neglected period in the artist’s career: the rise of fascism in the 1930s through 1948, his years spent in Paris and then in exile to New York.
“The exhibition provides an opportunity to reevaluate Marc Chagall’s art in the context of his life,” said Susan Tumarkin Goodman, senior curator emerita, who organized the show.
Although it is an exhibition which highlights the tragedies in Marc Chagall’s life- from the death of his wife, Bella, to the suffering of the Jews throughout Europe- it is also full of hope, expressed in joy-filled paintings replete with intense color and levitating figures.
Marc Chagall: Love, War, and Exile is on view from September 15, 2013 - February 2, 2014.
“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 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)