Chagall Marc (Liozna, Belarus 1887 - Saint-Paul de Vence, France 1985)


Marc Chagall (French/Russian, born July 7, 1887–died March 28, 1985) was an important painter of the 20th century, whose poetic, expressive work frequently featured magical or dream-like subject matter. With a career spanning over seven decades, Chagall was at times influenced by Cubism and Fauvism but departed from both to forge a unique, personal aesthetic. His work became influential throughout Europe, particularly to Surrealist artists who were inspired by his symbolic imagery.

Born in Russia in 1887, Chagall moved to France in 1910, and became an integral member of the École de Paris. He participated in the Salon des Indépendants and the Salon d’Automne in 1912, and held his first solo show in 1914 at Der Sturm gallery in Berlin. During a visit to Russia in 1914, Chagall met and later married Bella Rosenfeld, who came to be the subject of many of his paintings, such as Bella with White Collar (1917). Chagall and Rosenfeld were forestalled from returning to Paris because of the outbreak of war. They settled in Vitebsk—Chagall’s hometown—where he was appointed Commissar for Art in 1918, and founded the Vitebsk Popular Art School, where he remained as director until his resignation in 1920.

In 1923, Chagall moved back to Paris, and notably formed a friendship with dealer Ambroise Vollard, who commissioned Chagall to draw and paint multiple scenes from the Old Testament and other religious texts. In addition to Chagall’s Jewish cultural motifs, such as in Green Violinist (1923–1924) and Dancing Mirjam (1931), he often drew inspiration from the Christian Bible. During World War II, Chagall fled to the United States, where he was given a 1946 retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. He returned to France in 1948, and permanently settled there, yet he would continue to travel for commissions and pleasure throughout the rest of his life. Along with painting, printmaking, and many other media, Chagall is known for his stained-glass windows, like those at the synagogue of the Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem (installed in 1962), and the memorial window Peace (installed in 1964) for the United Nations. A major retrospective of his work was held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1985, the same year that Chagall died at the age of 97 in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France.

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