Marc Chagall *
(Vitebsk 1887–1985 Saint Paul de Vence)
Fleurs, 1924, signed Marc Chagall on the lower left, oil on canvas, 72 x 57 cm, framed
Comité Marc Chagall, Paris, archive no. 2016067 F, Paris, 4 October 2016
Max Gevers Collection (1884-1944), Antwerp
Baron de Schaetzen Collection, Belgium
Baron Léon Lambert Collection (1929-1987), Brussels
Christie’s New York, Important modern paintings and sculpture from the Lambert Collection, 12 May 1987, lot 6
Sotheby’s London, 4 April 1989, lot 56
Galleria Marescalchi, Bologna, 1990
Galleria La Torre, Milan
European private collection
Galerie Barbazanges Hodebert, Paris, exh. Cat. no. 37
Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts / Paleis voor Schone Kunsten , 28.04.-21.05.1935
Hamburg, Kunstverein in Hamburg, 6 February – 22 March 1959
this exhibition, organized with the support of U.N.E.S.C.O.,
then travelled to Munich, Haus der Kunst (7 April – 31 May 1959) and to Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs (14 June – end of September 1959), exhibition catalogue page 38, no. 73 with ill. (label on the reverse)
Knokke-le-Zoute, Hommage à Marc Chagall, Rétrospective, Casino 1 July-15 September 1961
Franz Meyer, Marc Chagall. La Vita e l’Opera, M. Du Mont Schauberg (ed.), Cologne, 1961, Il Saggiatore. Milan 1962, no. 375 with ill.
Floral bouquets play a prominent role in the work of painter-poet Marc Chagall. Throughout his life, he saw luminous blossoms as an expression of joy.
„Fleurs“ from 1924 marked a turning point in Marc Chagall’s creative work. In 1923, with the terrible years of the First World War behind him, he moved from his native Russia to Paris and immersed himself in the effervescent life and artistically nourishing atmosphere of the French capital. He was no stranger to the city’s artistic charms: Paris itself, the colours of the Fauvists and magic of Cubism had already captivated and influenced him on a previous stay before the outbreak of the war. Whereas Russian culture and society laid the foundation for Chagall’s art, the „ville lumière“, as he called Paris, proved vital to its development. He expressed himself with a keen sense of beauty and nature. „The soil which had nourished the roots of my art was Vitebsk but my art needed Paris – like a tree needs water – otherwise it would have withered“, Marc Chagall said.
Chagall’s rich oeuvre has a few recurring themes that appear in his paintings again and again, most strikingly the powerful, all-compelling forces of love, religion and nature. The latter plays a crucial role in the painter’s work; its creative power and explosive energy can be felt in every one of his pieces.
Nature also appears in the vivid brilliance and forceful chromatic intensity of the 1924 „Fleurs“, where still-closed, white buds and newly-opened flowers bare their cherry-coloured hearts, explode with lush splendour from a small vase, seem to proliferate and virtually dominate the room with their radiant cheerfulness. Lying next to the vase in front of a dark, blue-accented background is a book, its colour picking up the red and white of the flowers. It is probably a Bible, which Chagall regarded as the most important source of poetry. It accompanied his work throughout his life.
The bouquet was a favourite, recurring motif of Chagall’s into the late years of his life, but it was only in the mid-1920s that he began to deal with the subject intensively. As James Johnson Sweeney notes in „Chagall“ (New York, 1946): „It was in Toulon in 1924, Chagall recalls, that the charm of French flowers first stuck him. He claims that 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 […] 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.“ Chagall kept fresh flowers in his studio until the end of his life.
The “Fleurs” from 1924 are not a still life. There is nothing traditional about Chagall’s bouquets.
They are testament to a deep love of nature, an expression of joy, a symbol of life and a sign of hope. In them we find a reflection of the artist’s emotions and perceptions, an elucidation of life in bursts of colour: „Colour is something that lives inside you. It has nothing to do with either the kind of painting or the form of presentation; even masterful brushwork doesn’t effect it. Colour, not technique, conveys a painter’s character and message.“ (Marc Chagall, New York, 1946) Straight from a private collection, this flower painting from one of the greatest masters of modern art exudes subtle wonder, dazzling colourfulness and energy – an inherent power pulsating from its gilded frame.
realized price**EUR 1,022,500USD 1,110,500
estimateEUR 750,000 to 1,000,000USD 814,500 to 1,086,000
Date: 23.11.2016, 17:00
Location: Palais Dorotheum Vienna
Exhibition: 12.11. - 23.11.2016
**Purchase price incl. all charges, commissions and taxes
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