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Last updated: 1/25/2017
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Masters of Modernity: Chagall and Paris

For selections from the show, see: The Figure / Artist and Model / Nature / Nature2 / People / People2 / People3
Music and Dance / Biblical etchings / Chagall's Lithographs for the Bible / Chagall and Paris / Kandinsky
Marc Chagall on Paris
We came to Paris as though impelled by fate. We sought the sun that would light up the shadowy corners within us, within our souls which suffered in a kind of darkness. Each from his own corner of the world found his weary way to Paris, not to make his name—at that time there was little hope of achieving success—but in order to express himself differently, completely, and, above all, to find the artistic means to give outward manifestation to inward feelings

It should not, however, be thought that we were betraying the countries from which we had come. On the contrary. I believe that deep within ourselves we remained even more faithful to them, thanks to France, without whom the artistic sources of our native lands could not have found clear expression. No one can fully explain this phenomenon, but, over the past two hundred years, only in the atmosphere of Paris has it been possible to evaluate the qualities and defects of a painting. In this country the chemistry of the plastic arts becomes visible. Here it can be weighed, independently of all "-isms," just as formerly in Italy, and in other countries, a kind of plastic eloquence could be appreciated. This is not due merely to the French Academy—it is the very air of the country, and other things more difficult to define, that have produced the colours of a Watteau, a Chardin, a Cézanne, a Monet. . . .

I left my native land in 1910. At that moment I decided that I needed Paris. I came because I sought the light of Paris, its freedom, its refinement and the skills of the craft. Paris lit up my shadowy world like the sun. But in seeing the light, at the Louvre and elsewhere in France, I did not forget the country where I was born. On the contrary. I saw it more clearly. I could, of course, have expressed myself in the town where I was born. But I wanted to see with my own eyes the things I had heard about so far away that "revolution of the eye," the colors that blended freely into each other, reflecting the light whilst striving energetically with one another in the flow of a studied or a casually dominant line. The sun of art shone only in Paris. It seemed to me then, as it still does, that there can be no greater revolution of the eye than that I experienced on my arrival in Paris.
Marc Chagall (Russia 1887-1985 Paris), Vision of Paris (M. 81). Original color lithograph, 1952. 75 signed & numbered + 6000 unsigned impressions. Published in a special issue of the deluxe art review, Verve dedicated to Chagall's vision of Paris. One of Chagall's earliest color lithographs. Image size: 353x528mm. Price: $2,875.
Marc Chagall (Russia 1887-1985 Paris), Mother & child in front of Notre Dame. (M. 82). Original color lithograph, 1952. 75 signed & numbered + 6000 unsigned impressions. Published in a special issue of the deluxe art review, Verve dedicated to Chagall's vision of Paris. One of Chagall's earliest color lithographs. Image size: 353x264mm. Price: $1,775.
Marc Chagall (Russia 1887-1985 Paris), Place de la Concorde (M. 83). Original color lithograph, 1952. 75 signed & numbered + 6000 unsigned impressions. Published in a special issue of the deluxe art review, Verve dedicated to Chagall's vision of Paris. One of Chagall's earliest color lithographs. Image size: 353x264mm. Price: $2,175.
Marc Chagall (Russia 1887-1985 Paris), Night in Paris (M. 96). Original color lithograph, 1954. 75 signed and numbered impressions plus 2500 impressions signed in the plate. Published in a special number of the deluxe art review Derriere le Miroir dedicated to Chagall's vision of Paris. Illustrated in Marc Chagall: Bonjour Paris (Basel, 1983) and the 1977 catalogue for a graphics retrospective at the Message Biblique museum in Nice. Image size: 335x280mm. Price: $3250.
Marc Chagall (Russia 1887-1985 Paris), Quai de Bercy (M. 93). Original color lithograph, 1954. 75 signed and numbered impressions plus 2500 impressions signed in the plate. Published in a special number of the deluxe art review Derriere le Miroir dedicated to Chagall's vision of Paris. Illustrated in Marc Chagall: Bonjour Paris (Basel, 1983) and the 1987 catalogue for a graphics retrospective at the Message Biblique museum in Nice. These lithographs are remarkable for the extraordinary intensity of their colors. Witht he usual off-center centerfold. Image size: 378x456mm. Price: $5500.
Marc Chagall (Russia 1887-1985 Paris), Mother and Child at the Eiffel Tower (M. 94). Original lithograph, 1954. 75 signed and numbered impressions plus 2500 impressions signed in the plate. Published in a special number of the deluxe art review Derriere le Miroir dedicated to Chagall's vision of Paris. Image size: 310x260mm. Price: SOLD.
Marc Chagall (Russia 1887-1985 Paris), Eiffel Tower with Donkey (M. 97). Original color lithograph, 1954. 75 signed and numbered impressions plus 2500 impressions signed in the plate. Published in a special number of the deluxe art review Derriere le Miroir dedicated to Chagall's vision of Paris. Illustrated in Marc Chagall: Bonjour Paris (Basel, 1983) and the 1987 catalogue for a graphics retrospective at the Message Biblique museum in Nice. Image size: 335x280mm. Price: $4650.
Marc Chagall (Russia 1887-1985 Paris), Dimanche / Sundays (M. 98). Original color lithograph, 1954. 75 signed and numbered impressions plus 2500 impressions signed in the plate. Published in a special number of the deluxe art review Derriere le Miroir dedicated to Chagall's vision of Paris. Illustrated in Marc Chagall: Bonjour Paris (Basel, 1983) and the 1977 catalogue for a graphics retrospective at the Message Biblique museum in Nice. Image size: 335x280mm. Price: $3,750.
Marc Chagall (Russia 1887-1985 Paris), The Concert (M. 176) Original color lithograph, 1957. 90 signed & numbered impressions plus 2500 unsigned impressions with centerfold as published in the deluxe art review, Derrière le Miroir. Illustrated in the 1988 Moscow Chagall Exhibition. Ours is a signed impression from the edition published in Derrière le Miroir. In The Concert, we see a scene that is like a variant on medieval or Renaissance depictions of heaven with the hosts of angels singing for the Virgin and her Son, but here it is a pair of lovers reclining in a small boat floating down a river with the Eiffel Tower visible on the right and a mermaid swimming on the lower right while what may be a sea serpent peaceably coils about on the lower left. The choir includes a figure playing a harp as boatman, a cock top left, a ram to the right of him (in the orange area), and a bird in the yellow circle above the lovers and the harper, suggesting a dream of the total harmony of all things good and enjoyable. Image size: 380x560mm. Price: SOLD.

Available unsigned from the edition published in Derrière le Miroir. Price: $2,750.
Marc Chagall (Russia 1887-1985 Paris), Vision of Paris (M. 287). Original color lithograph, 1960. 100 numbered impressions + c. 2000 unsigned impressions for "Chagall Lithographs I." There were also 40 signed and numbered impressions reserved for the artist. Illustrated in Marc Chagall: Bonjour Paris, a study of Chagall's love affair with the city of Paris published in Germany in 1983. Image size: 296x215mm. Price: $1775.
Marc Chagall (Russia 1887-1985 Paris), The tree of Jesse (M. 297). Original color lithograph, 1960. 90 signed & numbered impressions + c. 1500 unsigned impressions. Executed the same year as Chagall's suite of color lithographs for the Bible, this rare night scene glows with brilliant colors not seen much after this date, as Chagall's palate went pastel. Hard to find! Image size: 320x250mm. Price: $1,950.
Marc Chagall (Russia 1887-1985 Paris), The Lovers' Sky (M. 393). Original color lithograph, 1963. 40 signed & numbered impressions plus 2500 unsigned impressions for Chagall Lithographe Volume II. Image size: 320x240mm. Price: $1,075.
Marc Chagall (Russia 1887-1985 Paris), Behind the Mirror (M. 412). Original color lithograph, 1964. 75 signed & numbered + c. 2000 unsigned impressions. Commissioned for the deluxe art review, Derrière le Miroir, this lithograph explores a theme of great interest in surrealist art, the mirror as pathway to another world. The presence of the clown and the acrobat at either end of the mirror also suggests the circus as a place where we go to be thrilled by shows that we know are not true, hence the staid matron who imagines herself as a high-wire artist, hangin on to the mirror with her hands while her legs are up over her head. While not, strictly speaking, about Paris, the very elegantly dressed lady and her mocking reflecton seem to echo the spirit of Paris as a fashion capital and a place where fashion must not always be taken seriously. Our impression signed by Chagall. With the centerfold, as always. Image size: 345x465mm. Price: SOLD. An unsigned impression is available for $2750.
Marc Chagall (Russia 1887-1985 Paris), The Ceiling of the Paris Opera (M. 434). Original color lithograph, 1965. Edition unknown (c. 2500?) unsigned impressions for the deluxe publication, Le Plafond de L'Opera de Paris. There are no signed & numbered impressions of this very beautiful print, which sold for c. $1000 at an auction in Paris in 1988. Illustrated Nice 1987. Image size: 325x250mm. Price: $1,075.

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