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Marc Chagall

  • artist
1887 – 1985

Artist, graphic artist, painter, set designer.

An outstanding master of avant-garde art of the twentieth century, a native of the Parisian school. Chagall created his own unique style in painting and retained his originality. He made frescoes and stained glass windows, designed theatrical costumes and scenery, illustrated books and wrote them himself. Distinctive features of the artist's work are national self-awareness, endless love for the depicted objects, his native city of Vitebsk, peeping through any Parisian or other landscape.

Lived and worked in Paris.

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Selected events

Selected Artwork Series

Selected artworks

Associated institutions

Associated Documents

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Selected dates:

July 7, 1887

Born in the village of Peskovatiki, near Vitebsk .

1906

He arrived in St. Petersburg, entered the Academy of Arts , where he studied with Leon Bakst, who introduced him to some of the themes of French painting.

1910- 1914

Lives in Paris in the colony of artists "Beehive" and draws close to modernist artistic circles. He absorbs various artistic discoveries and applies them in his painting. His compositions achieve clarity and dynamism, the drawing becomes more solid. The themes of childhood, family, death, deeply personal and at the same time eternal motives dominate in the paintings of this period.

1914–1918

"Over the city" . He begins to use deformation and irrationality, distortion of the laws of physics and logic, which had a great influence on the development of surrealism.

1917-1920

He holds the position of Commissioner of Arts in Vitebsk .

1918

The private school of drawing and painting by Yudel Pan was reorganized by Marc Chagall into the Vitebsk Folk Art School . In the conditions of the civil war, in front-line Vitebsk, with a shortage of premises for hospitals and barracks, Chagall managed to secure the allocation of a nationalized mansion with all the furnishings for the educational institution, which previously belonged to one of the directors of the joint-stock company "Vitebsk Tram" I. V. Vishnyak at ul. Bukharinskaya, 10 (now Pravda street, 5). In many ways, Marc Chagall was supported and promoted by the Fine Arts Department of the People's Commissariat of Education and its head D. Shterenberg. The People's Art School was organized as a labor school. Art and production workshops were planned to fulfill orders, posters, slogans, advertising signs, etc. were planned.

November 11, 1918

The first enrollment in the school took place. The Vitebsk press published the program of the school, which indicated that the functioning of such workshops should contribute to the beautification of the city. Along with practical subjects, there were also theoretical ones, for example, "theoretical acquaintance with the methods of contemporary 'leftist art'". Marc Chagall writes in his article "About the Vitebsk Folk Art School": "Dreams that the children of the urban poor, lovingly soiling paper somewhere at home, would join art, come true ... We can afford the luxury of" playing with fire " , and within our walls, guides and workshops of all directions from the left to the "right" inclusive are presented and function freely.

Chagall invited artists from Moscow and Petrograd to Vitebsk to teach, led the organizing committee for the construction of an art school and a communal workshop. He accelerated the enrollment of students and endowed the communal workshop with a monopoly on artistic production work in the city.

December 1918

A competition was held to make sketches of artistic signs for schools and cultural and educational institutions, the jury members of which were Mstislav Dobuzhinsky, Marc Chagall, J. Tilberg and others. On December 20, 1918, a telegram arrived from Petrograd: "The board approved the Dobuzhinsky director, the leaders Radlov, Tilberg, Chagall, Lyubavina."

January 28, 1919

Solemn opening of an educational institution by Marc Chagall, commissioner of the Collegium for Arts in the Vitebsk province. Dobuzhinsky soon left the school, and in February-March 1919 it was headed by Marc Chagall, continuing to implement his idea of the school as a system of free workshops, the leaders of which were artists of different directions with their own vision of the tasks and methods of teaching. The "Shagall stage" in the history of the educational institution is distinguished by democracy and loyalty to the artists-teachers. Under Chagall, a system of art education began to take shape in the province, art schools (studios) were opened in the county towns of Velizh, Nevel, Lepel, Orsha, Polotsk. All of them did not last long and, due to the termination of funding, were closed in the early 1920s.

From the middle of 1919

Marc Chagall invites his teacher Yudel Pen to run a workshop at the People's Art School, and Pen's studio becomes a branch of the school.

May 1919

At the invitation of Chagall, El Lissitzky arrives in Vitebsk from Moscow. He teaches the basics of architecture, graphics and printing.

October 1919

At the invitation of Marc Chagall, Vera Ermolaeva and El Lissitzky, Kazimir Malevich arrives in Vitebsk. The Vitebsk period of Malevich's life was characterized by a struggle with Marc Chagall for the reorganization of the teaching system at the art school until Malevich's departure to Petrograd. Together with like-minded people, whom he found here in great numbers, he creates the UNOVIS group and works hard, creating the theory of a new art.

"Lissitzky finds himself in a difficult ethical situation of choosing between his teacher Chagall and Malevich, the leader of the radically minded artistic youth. Having taken the side of Malevich, Lissitzky becomes his follower, adept and experiences a powerful impulse from the influence of the Suprematist concept."

End of May - beginning of June 1920

Marc Chagall, tired of the confrontation with Kazimir Malevich and the administrative and organizational burden that overshadowed creative tasks, left Vitebsk , Ermolaeva became the head of the school, which now became known as the Vitebsk State Free Art Workshops. The round seal of the school during the winter-spring of 1920, that is, even during the time of the directorship of Marc Chagall, had two inscriptions: in the center - "1st Vitebsk Higher Folk Art School", and in a circle - "Free State Art Workshops". This explains why both variants of the name of the educational institution were used in the documents of 1920.

1923

Moves to Paris . A book of his memoirs "My Life" is published in Berlin. He is fond of the art of engraving, mastering subtle means of expression. Both in graphics and in painting, he moves away from the influence of cubism, his manner becomes less intense. The color scheme is becoming more and more important, which has become a special motive for a happy vision of the world.

1933

Public burning of the artist's paintings by the German Nazis.

1935

The cycle "Crucifixion" , which marked the beginning of a series of symbolic works dedicated to the suffering of the Jewish people.

1953

Series of paintings "Bridges over the Seine" .

1955

Work began on Chagall's Bible . In line with this cycle, the master created a large number of monumental sketches and compositions, according to which buildings of various religious denominations were decorated. At the same time, he created secular decorative compositions, enriching the language of monumental art.

1973

Opening of the Chagall Museum in Nice , which is devoted mainly to the biblical theme.

1977

The artist was awarded the highest award in France - the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor , and in honor of his 90th birthday, a personal exhibition was held at the Louvre (during the author's lifetime, contrary to the rules of the museum).

March 28, 1985

He died in the town of Saint-Paul-de-Vence in the Alpes-Maritimes in France.

  • -

  • Literature:

  • "My life", 1923.

  • Collection of poetry "Angel over the roofs".

  • Autobiography "My World", 1994.

  • Essay "On Art and Culture".

  • -

  • The artist about his practice:

  • "For the Cubists, a painting was a plane filled with certain forms. For me, a painting is a plane covered with images of things placed in a certain logical order."

  • "As I get older, I feel more and more clearly ... how ridiculous that which does not have its own meaning, its own soul, that which is not permeated with love."

  • "The merit of an artist lies in his duty to keep the world wondering. In this long vigil he often changes his methods of stimulation, but in this long vigil he himself struggles against the incessant tendency to sleep."

  • “Their [Cubist] undertakings didn’t resent me at all. “Let them eat their square pears on triangular tables for their health,” I thought. <…> My art does not reason, it is molten lead, the azure of the soul pouring onto the canvas. Down with naturalism, impressionism and cube-realism! They are boring and disgusting to me"

  • "When I took a lithographic stone or a copper plate, it seemed to me that I had a talisman in my hands. It seemed to me that I could put all my sorrows and joys on them ... "

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