Marc Chagall

Marc Chagall
1887-1985 o French

Throughout his career, Marc Chagall infused his works with powerful imagery, reflecting his devotion to faith, family and love. His paintings encompass all of the major modern art movements, making him among the most celebrated artists of the 20th century.

Chagall was born in Vitebsk, Russia to a large, close-knit Jewish family of herring merchants. Throughout his life, he described these years as happy yet impoverished, a sentiment expressed in his canvases. He began studying painting in 1906 under famed artist Yehuda Pen. In 1907, he moved to St. Petersburg and joined the school of the Society of Art Supporters, studying under Nikolai Roerich, and was exposed to every school and artistic style imaginable during his tenure there. Chagall remained in St. Petersburg until 1910 when he moved to Paris in order to be near the art community of the Montparnasse district. In 1914, he returned to his hometown and married Bella Rosenfeld, the subject and inspiration for much of his work.

He became active in the Russian Revolution of 1917 and was made the Commissar of Art for the Vitebsk region. Not fairing well under the new Soviet regime, Chagall and his family moved back to Paris in 1923. During this time, he published memoirs, articles and poetry in Yiddish and became a French citizen in 1937. With the outbreak of World War II, the Chagalls fled Paris and settled in the United States in 1941. His wife Bella died from illness in 1944 and he fell into a deep depression and made the decision to move back to Europe in 1946. The next few years in Chagall's life were intense, with his works reflecting a new, vibrant ambiance. He was able to escape his depression when he met Virginia Haggard, with whom he had a son, and his new-found happiness was expressed through his works (including sculpture, ceramics and stained glass) that were dedicated to love and the joy of life.

In 1952, Chagall remarried and traveled extensively, including a trip to Israel in 1960 in which he created stained glass windows for the synagogue of the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem and in 1966, a mural for the new parliament building. Other public artworks he completed during this time include the mosaic murals of the Metropolitan Opera House and the stained glass wall of the United Nations Headquarters, both in New York. Chagall died at the age of 97 in Saint-Paul de Vence, France in 1985, leaving behind an incredible body of work that continues to demand the highest attention in the art community.

Marc Chagall

Marc Chagall