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Marc Chagall
"Nuit d'été (Summer's Night)" Lithograph, Colors, Linear Figures on Black Ground

1973

$12,000

About

Marc Chagall is clearly a Modernist. Though titled "Summer Night" it could just as easily be identified as a scene from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" especially as the subject dressed as a male also has a donkey's head and known in the play as Bottom. Perhaps the white dove plays the role of the elusive Puck who so changed Bottom into the fool. It is numbered 48/50 and signed below the print. It is a Lithograph printed in colors, 1973, on Arches wove paper, printed by Mourlot, Paris. According to Cogniat, in all Chagall's work during all stages of his life, it was his colors which attracted and captured the viewer's attention. During his earlier years his range was limited by his emphasis on form and his pictures never gave the impression of painted drawings. He adds, "The colors are a living, integral part of the picture and are never passively flat, or banal like an afterthought. They sculpt and animate the volume of the shapes... they indulge in flights of fancy and invention which add new perspectives and graduated, blended tones... His colors do not even attempt to imitate nature but rather to suggest movements, planes and rhythms.” Chagall was a Russian-French artist of Belarusian Jewish origin. An early modernist, he was associated with several major artistic styles and created works in a wide range of artistic formats, including painting, drawings, book illustrations, stage sets, ceramics, tapestries and fine art prints. 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"). According to art historian Michael J. Lewis, Chagall was considered to be "the last survivor of the first generation of European modernists". Using the medium of stained glass, he produced windows for the cathedrals of Reims and Metz, windows for the UN and the Art Institute of Chicago and the Jerusalem Windows in Israel. He also did large-scale paintings, including part of the ceiling of the Paris Opera. Before World War I, he travelled between Saint Petersburg, Paris and Berlin. During this period he created his own mixture and style of modern art based on his idea of Eastern Europe and Jewish folk culture. He spent the wartime years in Soviet Belarus, becoming one of the country's most distinguished artists and a member of the modernist avant-garde, found the Vitebsk Arts College before leaving again for Paris in 1923. He had two basic reputations, writes Lewis: as a pioneer of modernism and as a major Jewish artist. He experienced modernism's "golden age" in Paris, where "he synthesized the art forms of Cubism, Symbolism and Fauvism and the influence of Fauvism gave rise to Surrealism.” Yet throughout these phases of his style "he remained most emphatically a Jewish artist, whose work was one long dreamy reverie of life in his native village of Vitebsk.” After returning to France in the 1940s he traveled throughout Europe and chose to live in the Cote D’Azur which by that time had become somewhat of an "artistic centre". Matisse lived near Saint-Paul-de-Vence, about seven miles west of Nice, while Picasso lived in Vallauris. Although they lived nearby and sometimes worked together, there was artistic rivalry between them as their work was so distinctly different, and they never became long-term friends though Picasso still had a great deal of respect for Chagall. “When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what color is... His canvases are really painted, not just tossed together. Some of the last things he's done in Vence convince me that there's never been anybody since Renir who has the feeling for light that Chagall has.”

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About the Artist

Marc Chagall

Described by art critic Robert Hughes as "the quintessential Jewish artist of the twentieth century," the Russian-French modernist Marc Chagall worked in nearly every artistic medium. Influenced by Symbolism, Fauvism, Cubism and Surrealism, he developed his own, distinctive style, combining avant-garde techniques and motifs with elements drawn from Eastern European Jewish folk art.Born Moishe Segal in 1887, in Belarus (then part of the Russian empire), Chagall is often celebrated for his figurative paintings, but he also produced stained-glass windows for the cathedrals of Reims and Metz, in France; for the United Nations, in New York; and for the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, as well as book illustrations, stage sets, ceramics, tapestries and fine-art prints. Characterized by a bold color palette and whimsical imagery, his works are often narrative, depicting small-village scenes and quotidian moments of peasant life, as in his late painting The Flight into Egypt, from 1980.Before World War I, Chagall traveled between St. Petersburg, Paris and Berlin. When the conflict broke out, he returned to Soviet-occupied Belarus, where he founded the Vitebsk Arts College before leaving again for Paris in 1922. He fled to the United States during World War II but in 1947 returned to France, where he spent the rest of his life. His peripatetic career left its mark on his style, which was distinctly international, incorporating elements from each of the cultures he experienced. Marc Chagall remains one of the past century’s most respected talents.
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