Marc Chagall (1887-1985)

Marc Chagall was a Russian painter, designer and lithographer whose work is greatly renowned for his fantastic imagination. Among the distinguished list of accomplished 20th century painters, Chagall is associated with moving painting from the Impressionism era to the Modern movements.

Born in what is modern-day Belarus, Marc Chagall was the oldest of nine children in a Jewish family. His memoirs and paintings often alluded to his early years as happy, albeit impoverished.

Recognized as one of the most significant painters and graphic artists of the 20th century, his work is filled with pleasant dream-like qualities, which draw deeply on the unconscious. Chagall s distinct use of color and form is derived partly from Russian Expressionism and his numerous works represent his vivid memories of Russian-Jewish villages, as well as an element of fantasy and local folklore.

Chagall also drew from Biblical themes due to his Jewish heritage. Even though he experienced great turmoil in his life, Chagall paintings are bright and cheerful and communicate optimism to the viewer. Chagall paintings fall into several modern art categories. He was involved in the avant-garde trends of pre-World War I Paris, however, his work remained on the edge of this movement, favoring the styles of Cubism and Fauvism.

His paintings are almost always full of symbolism beyond the canvas. For example, the presence of a fiddler, such as in La Violiniste Bleu, expresses being at a crossroads in life.

In 1923, Marc Chagall moved from Russia to France, where he pursued his artistic endeavors, but unfortunately, also suffered persecution during the World Wars because he was Jewish. Some interpret his paintings from this era, such as The White Crucifixion, to be a denunciation of the Stalin regime as well as against the persecution of the Jews.

Marc Chagall died at the age of 97 in 1985. He is interned in Saint-Paul de Vence, France. Above all, Chagall believed in love and attempted to communicate through his paintings this mantra: In our life there is a single color, as on an artist s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love.

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