Marc Chagall

Le vase bleu aux deux corbeilles de fruits

Oil on canvas: 14.9(h) x 24(w) in /

37.8(h) x 61(w) cm

Signed lower right: Marc Chagall; signed on the reverse: Marc Chagall

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BS 177

 

MARC CHAGALL

 Vitebsk, Russia 1887 – 1985 Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France

 

Le vase bleu aux deux corbeilles de fruits

 

Signed lower right: Marc Chagall ;

signed on the reverse: Marc Chagall

Oil on canvas: 14 ⅞ x 24 in / 37.8 x 61 cm

Frame size: 22 ¼ x 31 ¼ in / 56.5 x 79.4 cm

 

Painted circa 1961-1964

 

Provenance:

Les Galeries Maeght, Paris

Mr Josef Rosensaft, New York

Acquavella Galleries, New York;

Private collection, acquired from the above in 1968

 

Literature:

André Pieyre de Mandiargues, Chagall, Paris 1974, p.144, no.100, illus.

 

The Comité Marc Chagall has confirmed the authenticity of this work and it is recorded by them as No. 2016019D

 

‘… You could wonder for ages about what flowers mean, but for me they’re life itself, in all its happy brilliance. We couldn’t do without flowers. Flowers help you forget life’s tragedies, but they can also mirror them …’[1]

 

It is thought that the motif of bouquets in Chagall’s work was inspired by his first wife Bella Rosenfeld. Their relationship was one filled with happiness and its strength had a great impact on not only the artist’s life but his career. Chagall first began to paint romantic still lifes such as Le vase bleu aux deux corbeilles de fruits in the early 1920s and their soft, dreamlike hues captured the deep affection and love shared between himself and Bella. It is noted in Chagall: Love, War and Exile how Bella would collect flowers, food and garments from nearby markets during their time in France: ‘His wife, Bella, brought home lavish bouquets from the markets, which Chagall would transform into lyrical expressions of joy. These are not traditional still lifes; rather, the bunches of blooms, enlarged out of all proportion, capture the spirit of nature, or perhaps the spirit of France and of Bella.’[2] It wasn’t until the end of the 1930s, when the couple travelled down through the Côte d’Azur, that Bella herself distinctively described such events in her memoirs and the immediacy with which Chagall would paint her or the variety of different objects that she brought into their home: ‘Don’t move stay right where you are! … You have thrust yourself upon the canvas which trembles under your hand. You dip the brushes. Spurts of red, blue, white, black. You drag me into floods of colour. Suddenly you tear me from the earth … both in unison we rise above the bedecked room and we fly. At the window we want to go through it. Outside clouds, a blue sky calls us … Fields of flowers … float below us’[3].

 

Like Kandinsky, Chagall believed that colour directly influences the soul and in Le vase bleu aux deux corbeilles de fruits his palette appears heavily influenced by the luminosity of the Côte d’Azur, the beautiful coastline he had once explored with Bella. The composition is dominated by the large bouquet of flowers in the foreground that swells with romantic expressivity, as gloriously deep red flowers unfurl against the still and peaceful Mediterranean blue of the background. This contrast allows for the figures, placed delicately behind the cornucopia of fruit, to appear ethereal in their dreamlike tones. Bouquets of flowers became a perennial theme within Chagall’s oeuvre, as did the bride and groom. These themes would feature throughout his work during the eighty-year span of his career. Chagall utilised colour to produce still lifes that possessed such lyrical enchantment that it is no wonder he is viewed as the artist capable of creating ‘the most imaginative and enduring evocations of love in twentieth-century.’[4]

 

It was not until the August of 1948, after Bella’s death, that Chagall permanently settled in France, staying first at Orgeval, near Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the Midi and then Saint-Jean Cap- Ferrat, before moving to Vence in October 1949. It was during this period that the artist rediscovered the natural beauty of French flowers.[5] ‘It was in Toulon in 1924, Chagall recalls, that the charm of French flowers first struck him. He claims he had not known bouquets of flowers in Russia … He said that when he painted a bouquet it was as if he was painting a landscape. It represented France to him. But the discovery was also a logical one in the light of the change taking place in his vision and pictorial interests. Flowers, especially mixed bouquets of tiny blossoms, offer a variety of delicate colour combinations and a fund of texture contrasts which were beginning to hold Chagall’s attention more and more.’[6]

 

 

 

 

Marc Chagall, Bouquet aux amoureux volants, c. 1934 – 47

Oil on canvas: 130.5 x 97.5 cm

The Tate Collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


MARC CHAGALL

 Vitebsk, Russia 1887 – 1985 Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France

 

Marc Chagall was born on the 7th July 1887 in Vitebsk, Russia. From 1907 to 1910, he studied in Saint Petersburg, at the Imperial Society for the Protection of the Arts and later with Léon Bakst. In 1910, he moved to Paris, where he associated with Guillaume Apollinaire and Robert Delaunay and encountered Fauvism and Cubism. He participated in the Salon des Indépendants and the Salon d’Automne in 1912. His first solo show was held in 1914 at Der Sturm gallery in Berlin. Chagall visited Russia in 1914, and was prevented from returning to Paris by the outbreak of war.

 

Chagall settled in Vitebsk, where he was appointed Commissar for Art in 1918. He founded the Vitebsk Popular Art School and directed it until disagreements with the Suprematists resulted in his resignation in 1920. He moved to Moscow and executed his first stage designs for the State Jewish Chamber Theater there. After a sojourn in Berlin, Chagall returned to Paris in 1923 and met Ambroise Vollard. His first retrospective took place in 1924 at the Galerie Barbazanges-Hodebert, Paris. During the 1930s, he traveled to Palestine, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland, and Italy. In 1933, the Kunsthalle Basel held a major retrospective of his work.

 

During World War II, Chagall fled to the United States. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, gave him a retrospective in 1946. He settled permanently in France in 1948 and exhibited in Paris, Amsterdam, and London. During 1951, he visited Israel and executed his first sculptures. The following year, the artist travelled in Greece and Italy.  During the 1960s, Chagall continued to travel widely, often in association with large-scale commissions he received.  Among these were windows for the synagogue of the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem, installed in 1962; a ceiling for the Paris Opéra, installed in 1964; a window for the United Nations building, New York, installed in 1964; murals for the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, installed in 1967; and windows for the cathedral in Metz, France, installed in 1968. An exhibition of the artist’s work from 1967 to 1977 was held at the Musée du Louvre, Paris, in 1977–78, and a major retrospective was held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1985.  Chagall died March 28, 1985, in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France.

[1] The artist cited in Gill Polonsky, Chagall, Phaidon, London 1998, p.84.

[2] Susan Tumarkin Goodman and Kenneth E. Silver (eds.), Chagall: Love, War and Exile, exhibition catalogue, Yale University Press, London 2013, p.25.

[3] Bella Chagall (translation by Barbara Bray), First Encounter, Schocken Books, New York 1983.

[4] Gill Polonsky, Chagall, Phaidon, London, 1998, p.70.

[5] Chagall bought and moved into a house called Les Collines on the slope of the Baou des Blancs between Vence and Saint-Jeannet in spring 1950.

[6] James Johnson Sweeney, Marc Chagall, Museum of Modern Art, New York 1946, p.56.

ImpressionistMarc Chagall