Marc Chagall. The Origins of the artist’s creative language. Dedicated to the 125th anniversary of his birth. With the participation of Sepherot Foundation (Liechtenstein)

June 15 - September 30, 2012

At the exhibition participate works from the collection of Sepherot Foundation (Liechtenstein) 

The Tretyakov Gallery presents one of the most long-awaited projects of the year- the exhibition of the little-known graphic heritage of Marc Chagall (1887-1985). The project is part of the program of the French language and literature in Russia, thereby denoting one of the main features of Marc Chagall’s art - its internationality. The phenomenon of Marc Chagall’s creation is always of great interest, both abroad and in Russia. The Tretyakov Gallery regularly provides artist’s works of art from its collection to participate in the best museum projects in Europe, America and Asia. The Gallery held major exhibitions of Chagall’s works in its private rooms in 1973, 1992, 2005, the last of which, «Hello, Motherland!» demonstrated indicative paintings of the artist and was warmly received by the audience, in three months it was visited by about 128 thousand people.

Автопортрет в профиль. 1914
Self portrait in profile. 1914

 This time the organizers and curators decided to show drawings, almost unknown in our country, watercolors and gouaches, from early sketches made in Vitebsk to later collages, made in Paris, and Chagall’s printed graphics – the famous illustrations of the Bible (1931-1956) and «Fables» of La Fontaine (1950-1952), made in the technique of etching. The exhibition presents more than 150 graphic works, as well as paintings, artist sculpture, works of art from the collection of foreign and Russian museums and private collections. It is for the first time in the practice of the national museum when Chagall’s works are presented in the context of search for the origins of his art. Chagall belonged to the generation of artists, who in the early twentieth century turned to folk art in an attempt to find themselves, find their own figurative style and plastic language. Chagall did not have a consistent professional education, his first and most important teacher was the natural environment - the Jewish, Russian, Belarusian, Lithuanian, French ambiance, «that living water» that «charged» and inspired the master during his entire life. Real and unreal events, captured by the artist, are firmly connected to the earth's environment by household items, signs of places, which were essential to him and became typical Chagall’s «passwords»: from the naïve hairdresser’s signboard in Vitebsk or milkman’s in Paris to the cross of the Orthodox Cathedral or the chimera of Notre Dame in Paris, from the simple embroidery to the menorah and Torah, from sagging peasant hut to the Vilnius synagogue and the Jewish cemetery gates, from the popular prints and illustrations in popular publications and traveling musicians to the banners of the revolution. The artist stated: «It is not true that my art is fantastic! I am a realist, I love the earth!».The exhibition at the Tretyakov Gallery includes works from the collections of artist's family: works of the «family circle» - unique, never exhibited in Russia: self-portraits, portraits of his mother, grandmother, cousins, sisters, portrait of his wife Bella and of his daughter Ida, performed in the late 1900s-1910s. These works will present the audience a kind of artist's autobiography, a chronicle of his family (At the window. Mother and daughter. 1908. Ring. 1908-1909; Model. Artist's sister. 1910. Birth. 1911 and others). The engraved life story of Chagall is recorded in the series «My Life» (1922). The image of his beloved city - Vitebsk is a kind of leitmotif of the exhibition, it is present in one form or another in all of his paintings. The French collections submitted a group works (1960-1970s) made in a rare technique of collage (Triumph of Music. The panel sketch for the Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Art Center. 1966. Clown and his shadow (Blue violinist). 1964. Violet naked. 1967. Anthem Quay hours. 1968).

Лежащая обнаженная. 1911
Lying naked. 1911

The Pushkin State Museum presented for the exhibition «Landscape with a goat (Liozno)» (1910), «In the hall of Thea» (1910), «Room at Gorokhovaya» (1910), created in Russia in 1910 and given to the museum by Ida Chagall. Works of the first Parisian period, examples of Chagall’s interpretation of French contemporary art, «Nude with Flowers”, «Reclining Nude» (both painted in 1911) were offered by the Sepherot Foundation (Liechtenstein). For the first time Moscow audiences will be shown Chagall’s youth albums, recently acquired in France, which come from Blaise Cendrars’ archive, a writer and poet, master’s friend and interpreter, he introduced the young artist in the circle of the Parisian avant-garde (collection of I. Manasherovyh, Moscow). In addition to the original drawings, the exhibition also includes the illustrations for «Dead Souls», Gogol (1923-1925), made at the initiative of Ambroise Vollard, owner of Parisian gallery and publisher of the series «Artist Book», which are part of the collection of the Tretyakov Gallery, donated by the author in 1927.Another discovery for the domestic audience is the famous “Wedding Service» (1951-1952. Pottery, white enamel, painting), created by Chagall in honor of the wedding of his daughter Ida (private collection, Paris) and two marble sculptures for the fountain «Fish» and «The Bird» (1964. Collection of Pierre Dzhanadda Foundation, Martigny, Switzerland). The items of folk art, exhibited at the exhibition of the Russian Ethnographic Museum (St. Petersburg) and at the Museum of the History of Jews in Russia (Moscow), will supplement the audience’s idea of the origins of Chagall’s imagery.

An illustrated catalog, which includes articles of the leading Russian and foreign researchers of artist’s creation, is timed for the opening of the exhibition.

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