Our Artists

Marc Chagall

Though he was inspired by the artistic movements of his time, Marc Chagall cannot be linked to any one of them in particular. Very attached to his origins, he developed a personal iconography that was marked by Jewish tradition and Russian folklore. His vividly coloured paintings, containing recurrent themes such as the acrobat, the musician, flowers and lovers, are a reflection of the times he lived in and of his personal existence. His poetry and the many different ways in which he expressed himself led to worldwide recognition.


The first Paris period

Marc Chagall was born into a modest Jewish family in Byelorussia and studied painting in Saint-Petersburg. In 1910, he left for Paris and settled in la Ruche in the Montparnasse district, where he met Amedeo Modigliani, Chaim Soutine and Fernand Léger. Here, he learned more about impressionism and cubism and improved his ability as a colourist.

The return to Russia

In 1914, he returned to his home town of Vitebsk. The First World War forced him to extend his stay, which was only meant to be a short one. During this period, he painted the daily life of the Jewish community in his home town. In 1917, when the Russian revolution broke out, he was appointed as Fine Arts Commissioner for Vitebsk province and founded an Academy with other Russian artists. He resigned after conflicts with them and left for Moscow, where he produced wall paintings, sets and costumes for the Moscow Jewish theatre.

The second Paris period

In 1922, after a short stay in Berlin where he learned the art of engraving, Chagall returned to Paris where he illustrated a number of works: La Fontaine’s Fables (1924-1925), Dead Souls by Gogol (1925-1931) and the Bible. As war came nearer, his paintings revealed a deep anxiety. In 1937, he obtained French nationality, then took refuge in the United States in 1941. He received several orders for ballet sets and costumes.

The Provence period

He returned to France after the war, in 1948, and concentrated much of his work on biblical themes, producing gouaches, then engravings. All these works, which were completed between 1954 and 1967, make up The Biblical Message, to which a museum, inaugurated in 1973, is dedicated (National Museum of the Biblical Message, Nice).

He settled in Vence (Alpes Maritimes) and became interested in ceramics and the production of stained glass windows. Amongst his works were: bas-reliefs and stained glass windows for the church on the Assy plateau (Haute-Savoie), stained glass windows for the Metz and Reims cathedrals and stained glass windows for the synagogue at the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. In 1964, he decorated the ceiling of the Opéra Garnier in Paris. He died in Saint-Paul-de-Vence in 1985.

“If all life moves inevitably towards its end, we must, during our life, colour it with our colours of love and hope”. Marc Chagall


- Moi et le village, (I and the village) 1911
- Vue de Paris par une fenêtre, (View of Paris through a window) 1913
- Le Poète Allongé, (The Poet reclining) 1917
- La Crucifixion blanche, (White Crucifixion) 1938
- Le Cirque bleu, (Blue Circus) 1950

Useful links

- National Museum of the Biblical Message Nice, France
- Marc Chagall Museum, Vitebsk, Byelorussia
- Marc Chagall at the Pompidou Centre , Paris
- Marc Chagall at the New York Museum of Modern Art  

Marc Chagall 's products at Nouvelles Images

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Nationality(ies) : French, Russian
Born on : 07/12/1887
Died on : 28/03/1985
Profile : Ceramist, Set designer, Designer, Engraver, Illustrator, Painter
Artistic current(s) : Cubism, Surrealism
Theme(s) covered : Love - friendship, Animals, Fine Art, Flowers - plants, Landscapes - Nature, Portraits - Characters