Exhibition organized by Artcurial in Milan presents ten iconic works by Marc Chagall

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Exhibition organized by Artcurial in Milan presents ten iconic works by Marc Chagall
Marc Chagall, Les fiancés au cirque, 1982, huile et pastel sur toile, 100 x 73 cm. courtesy Artcurial.

MILAN.- Echoing the retrospective organized by the Palazzo Reale, Artcurial presents ten iconic works of Marc Chagall in Milan. Belonging to one same collection, and covering the artist‘s most flourishing and inspired period – those joyful years in Paris, Vence and the Cote d’Azur between 1944 and 1982 – these ten paintings depict many of the dreams and legends that have inhabited Chagall since his youth in Russia. This event fully comes within the scope of the cultural strategy dear to Artcurial.

« After the exhibition dedicated to Jean-Michel Basquiat at Artcurial Brussels last winter, we continue to strengthen our position as a cultural player both in France and abroad. This time it’s in Milan that we unveil an exhibition gathering ten works by Marc Chagall. This voluntarily intimate show offers an insight into the heart of the artist’s imagination. After the exhibition, all pieces will be available for collectors through our Private Sales department» explains Francis Briest, co-chairman of Artcurial.

Through the ten works that have been selected Artcurial presents a synthesis of Marc Chagall’s pictorial universe. The exhibition traces back the maturity of the artist’s human and artistic path during one of the happiest periods of his life: the French years spent between Paris, Provence and French-Riviera. Almost fourty years of creation are thus displayed.

Bruno Jaubert, director of the Modern Art department of Artcurial Briest-Poulain-F.Tajan: «When observing Chagall’s harmonious compositions of blue, red, green, orange and yellow, in which lovers, circus figures and pets pop up here and there, and where generous bouquets of nature arise, one cannot help but step into a lively daydream inhabited by the most singular figures. When darkness falls, these fantastical creatures wander the streets in a joyful parade, between the Palazzo Reale and the Palazzo Crespi. »
In his own time, David McNeil had warned curators of the risks and dangers of hanging Marc Chagall’s paintings in museums, “despite common knowledge that, along with Jerome Bosch’s paintings, they are home to the most trouble-making characters. Few people know, he wrote, the difficulties and challenges faced by curators every morning, when they have to place back into their respective frames the heroes of paintings, who, come nightfall and pretexting to stretch their legs, turn their museum into the wildest parties/ bamboulas.”

Since 1948, when Marc Chagall represented France at the 24th Biennial of Venice, his work has been the subject of many exhibitions in Italy.

A peculiar figure in the History of Art, Chagall crossed the main avant-garde movements of the XX Century without really being part of them, and was always faithful to his very personal style, suspended between reality and transfiguration, between dream and myth. The romantic figures of his “lovers”, the nocturnal dream-like blue, the Russian landscapes of his youth, the irrepressible vitality and restlessness of his circus scenes, and the simple and severe religiousness of his Old Testament heroes are some of the most appreciated and recognizable iconic motifs in his art. The themes mentioned above, which have been present also in the last stage of his artistic production, are all well represented in this exciting exhibition.

In 1949, after the tragic events of the war, Chagall, now a renowned artist and acclaimed worldwide, decides to move to France (which will become his permanent residence until his death in 1985) with his new wife Valentina Brodsky, whom he marries three years later. The sunny and colorful landscapes of Provence offer the artist the opportunity to finally find a long-awaited happiness.

Marc Chagall is born on July 7, 1887 in Witebsk, Belarus. Chagall attends the private Swansewa Art School in St. Petersburg from 1907 to 1910. He travels to Paris in 1910, where he becomes acquainted with contemporary writers and artists. Herwarth Walden organizes his first one-man show in the Berlin gallery "Der Sturm" in 1914. He returns to Witebsk where the outbreak of World War I comes quite surprising.

Marc Chagall is appointed commissioner of fine arts in Witebsk in 1918, founding his own art academy the same year, with El Lissitzky and Kasimir Malewitsch, among others, as teachers. Due to disputes with Malewitsch, Chagall leaves the academy in 1919. He goes to Moscow where he works as a costume and stage designer at the Jewish theater, additionally, he teaches drawing classes at the colony for war orphans "Malachowka" near Moscow.

Chagall leaves Russia for good in 1922, living for a short time in Berlin and finally settles in Paris as of 1923, where he gets his first remittance work from the art dealer Ambroise Vollard for a book illustration project the same year. He illustrates Nikolai Gogol's novel "Die toten Seelen" (The Dead Souls are made between 1931 and 1939 as well as of 1952.

Marc Chagall's artistic oeuvre is proof of a great pleasure in telling stories in poetic images in beautiful colors, creating an own timeless and poetic world. Chagall's main source of inspiration is Russia's rich stock of folk art, Jewish mysticism and legends. He combines all this with dream visions. Certain motifs and metaphors are recurring, such as the loving couple, the cock or the Jewish figure Schtetl.

Besides paintings, Chagall executes numerous cycles of etchings as well as lithographs. Even though Marc Chagall began dealing with lithography only after returning to Paris, he attains a certain mastery within a very short time.

He receives numerous remittance works for public buildings between 1950 and 1970, designing, for instance, glass windows for the cathedral in Metz, for the cathedral Notre-Dame in Reims, the synagogue of the Hadassah university hospital in Jerusalem and St. Stephen's Church in Mainz. He executes a ceiling for the cupola above the auditorium of the Paris Opéra Garnier as of 1963. As of 1964 he begins with murals in the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Marc Chagall resides in the USA during World War II as of 1941. The first comprehensive retrospective exhibition takes place at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1946.

The artist returns to Paris in 1947 and settles in Saint-Paul-de-Vence in 1950, where he dies on March 28, 1985. Chagall retains his creative strength up into an old age.

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