Why is Russian-French artist Marc Chagall known as the painter of love? This video explores the theme within the context of his life and works.
Chagall, an orthodox Jew, was born in Vitebsk, Russia on July 7, 1887 as Moshe Segal, the eldest of nine children. In 1910, he moved to Paris, where he changed his name to the more French-sounding Marc Chagall, and in 1911 moved into his own studio in La Ruche, the legendary Parisian artist colony.
On July 25, 1915, Chagall married Bella Rosenfeld in Vitebsk and, by 1919, he had set up the Vitebsk School of Fine Arts with artists Kazimir Malevich and El Lissitzky. But things did not go well and Chagall was soon forced to depart.
By the 1930s, Chagall’s paintings were selling well… but then in 1933, a number of his works were publicly burnt by Nazis, outside the Mannheim Art Gallery. In 1937, on the orders of the Nazi regime, all of Chagall’s works were removed from German museums, and three were shown in Munich’s notorious ‘Degenerate Art Exhibition’ of the same year.
Shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War, Chagall moved his family to the United States. In New York, Pierre Matisse, the son of artist Henri Matisse, organised Chagall’s first exhibition in America, in November 1941, at the Pierre Matisse Gallery.
In the late 1940s, exhibitions were held of Chagall’s work in New York, London, Zurich and Bern in Switzerland. All were hugely successful, but earlier, in 1944, his beloved Bella had passed away from a viral infection, and the artist now longed to return to France.
In 1948, he left America for good and by 1950, had moved to Vence in the South of France, where, intermittently, he would meet up with Matisse and Picasso, both of whom had studios nearby.
In 1951, he married Valentina Brodsky, with their marriage giving him new energy for life and creativity.
He visited Chartres Cathedral to study medieval stained-glass window painting, which so inspired him that in 1959 he created stained glass windows for the north apse of Metz Cathedral. Thereafter, in 1964, he completed the window of the Good Samaritan for the memorial to John D. Rockefeller Junior and the Peace window for the United Nations building in New York.
Marc Chagall died at his home in Saint-Paul de Vence at the age of 97, on March 28, 1985.
View the original video here.
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