Chagall, Marc

A major artist of the 20th century, Marc Chagall left his mark on modern art with a particularly recognizable style. He produced his first etchings in 1922 and returned to Paris in 1923, where he completed numerous commissions for Ambroise Vollard, including hundreds of etchings to illustrate the Fables de la Fontaine and The Bible. Discover his works in our online art gallery.

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Biography

Born in Vitebsk in 1887 into a Hasidic Jewish family, Chagall entered the Imperial School of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg in 1907 before moving to Paris in 1910. There, he made friends with avant-garde artists such as Delaunay and Cendrars, and exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants. At the outbreak of World War II, Chagall returned to Russia and became director of the Vitebsk Fine Arts School at the start of the Russian Revolution in 1917, where he taught alongside El Lissitzky and Malevich. After differences with the Suprematists, he finally resigned in 1920 and moved to Moscow. He produced his first etchings in 1922 and returned to Paris in 1923, where he carried out numerous commissions for Ambroise Vollard, including hundreds of etchings to illustrate the Fables de la Fontaine and The Bible. Chagall became a naturalized French citizen in 1937, and his art reflects the political turmoil of the time, particularly the rise of anti-Semitism. In fact, his paintings were withdrawn from German museums that same year. Like many artists of the period, Chagall left for the United States during the Second World War, in 1941. There, he exhibited at MoMA, and Matisse became his new dealer. On his return to France after the war, Chagall settled in Vence and experimented with new techniques to satisfy the commissions he had received: he created numerous stained-glass windows, mosaics and ceramics, notably the stained-glass windows for the synagogue of the Jerusalem hospital, the models for which were later engraved by Charles Sorlier, with whom he worked closely from the 1950s onwards. Chagall also created frescoes, notably the famous ceiling of the Paris Opera in 1964. At the same time, Chagall also enriched his work with numerous lithographsThe recurring themes are religion, dreams and love. Chagall died in Vence in 1985, and remains a key figure of the 20th century thanks to the modernity of his work. His universe, particularly identifiable thanks to its narrative aspect and highly personal aesthetic, draws on Russian and Jewish traditions in terms of theme, and on Cubism, Futurism and the work of masters such as Delacroix and Manet in terms of technique.