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Artists Marc Chagall
Marc Chagall Photo

Marc Chagall

French-Russian Draftsman, Painter, and Printmaker

Movements and Styles: Expressionism, Cubism

Born: July 7, 1887 - Vitebsk, Russian Empire (present day Belarus)

Died: March 28, 1985 - Saint-Paul, France

Marc Chagall Timeline

Quotes

"When I am finishing a picture, I hold some God-made object up to it - a rock, a flower, the branch of a tree or my hand - as a final test. If the painting stands up beside a thing man cannot make, the painting is authentic. If there's a clash between the two, it's bad art."
Marc Chagall
"Stubborn and insistent...we offer and impose our ideas, our forms- the forms and ideas of the new Revolutionary Art; we have the courage to think the future is with us."
1918
"Lenin turned [the country] upside down, just as I upturn my paintings"
Marc Chagall
"In our life there is a single color, as on an artist's palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love."
Marc Chagall
"All colors are the friends of their neighbors and the lovers of their opposites."
Marc Chagall
"Should I paint the earth, the sky, my heart? The cities burning, my brothers fleeing? My eyes in tears. Where should I run and fly, to whom?"
Marc Chagall
"When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what color really is."
Pablo Picasso
"Some become painters by controlling or deflecting their gifts - and even attain greatness - but Chagall was born into paint, into the canvas, into the picture, with his clumsiness and all."
Clement Greenberg

"My hands were too soft.. I had to find some special occupation, some kind of work that would not force me to turn away from the sky and the stars, that would allow me to discover the meaning of life."

Marc Chagall Signature

Synopsis

Marc Chagall's poetic, figurative style made him one of most popular modern artists, while his long life and varied output made him one of the most internationally recognized. While many of his peers pursued ambitious experiments that led often to abstraction, Chagall's distinction lies in his steady faith in the power of figurative art, one that he maintained despite absorbing ideas from Fauvism and Cubism. Born in Russia, Chagall moved to France in 1910 and became a prominent figure within the so-called Ecole de Paris. Later he spent time in the United States and the Middle East, travels which reaffirmed his self-image as an archetypal "wandering Jew."

Key Ideas

Chagall worked in many radical modernist styles at various points throughout his career, including Cubism, Suprematism and Surrealism, all of which possibly encouraged him to work in an entirely abstract style. Yet he rejected each of them in succession, remaining committed to figurative and narrative art, making him one of the modern period's most prominent exponents of the more traditional approach.
Chagall's Jewish identity was important to him throughout his life, and much of his work can be described as an attempt to reconcile old Jewish traditions with styles of modernist art. However, he also occasionally drew on Christian themes, which appealed to his taste for narrative and allegory.
In the 1920s, Chagall was claimed as a kindred spirit by the emerging Surrealists, and although he borrowed from them, he ultimately rejected their more conceptual subject matter. Nevertheless, a dream-like quality is characteristic of almost all of Chagall's work; as the poet and critic Guillaume Apollinaire once said, Chagall's work is "supernatural."

Biography

Marc Chagall Photo

Childhood

Marc Chagall was the eldest of nine children born to Khatskl Shagal and Feige-Ite in the settlement town of Liozna, near Vitebsk, an area that boasted a high concentration of Jews. Raised in a Hasidic family, Chagall attended local Jewish religious schools - obligatory for Russian Jews during this time, since discrimination policies prohibited mixing of different racial groups - where he studied Hebrew and the Old Testament. Such teachings would later inform much of the content and motifs in Chagall's paintings, etchings and stained-glass work.

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Marc Chagall Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Marc Chagall
Interactive chart with Marc Chagall's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Leon BakstLeon Bakst
Paul GauguinPaul Gauguin
Pablo PicassoPablo Picasso
Henri MatisseHenri Matisse

Personal Contacts

Guillaume ApollinaireGuillaume Apollinaire
Robert DelaunayRobert Delaunay
Fernand LégerFernand Léger
Ambroise VollardAmbroise Vollard

Movements

SymbolismSymbolism
FauvismFauvism
CubismCubism
ExpressionismExpressionism
Russian FuturismRussian Futurism

Influences on Artist
Marc Chagall
Marc Chagall
Years Worked: 1910 - 1985
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Pablo PicassoPablo Picasso
El LissitzkyEl Lissitzky
Ossip ZadkineOssip Zadkine
Diego RiveraDiego Rivera
Joan MiróJoan Miró

Personal Contacts

André BretonAndré Breton
Henry McBrideHenry McBride
Robert HughesRobert Hughes

Movements

SurrealismSurrealism
Abstract ExpressionismAbstract Expressionism

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Content compiled and written by Justin Wolf

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Justin Wolf
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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