|The third thing that draws my attention in the exhibition, are the images of people and animals -some large and some tiny in the same picture,some distorted , some apparently flying in the air.Without the help of the “translation” of these images I would find it difficult to comprehend and tend to pass them off without further thought. But, their sizes and positions express emotion an element assisted by the colours.The famous picture of Chagall holding the hand of his wife who flies through the air was paintedMarc Chagall. The Promenade (La promenade). 1917-18. Oil on canvas. 1sourced on line (July 2013) from:Olga’s gallery ref: http://www.abcgallery.com/C/chagall/chagall18.htmlto represent love not only of each other but also (as represented by the bird in Chagall’s hand) of his home, returning after travels, particularly to Paris.A painting “The sodlier drinks” 1912 reflects “through fragmented cubism the physical and mental (pain)…of a Tsarist soldier, taken from his home life -represented by the small people dancing on the table (memories of past).(taken from the description accompanying the picture display at Tate Liverpool)sourced on line (july 2103 ) from Olga’s gallery: reference: http://www.abcgallery.com/C/chagall/chagall74.htmlAnd in the painting”The mirror” of 1915 Chagall paints “tension and fear” and the “claustrophobia” of his and Bella’s lives when he avoided conscription. The mirror reflects “an alternative world where objects and colours are transformed becoming nightmarish”. (quote from Tate Liverpool exhibition accompanying the picture)again a tiny human image hides in the picture -his wife with her head buried in her arms on the table
The Mirror – Marc Chagall – Posters, Affiches d’Art
sourced on .line (July 2013) from http://uk.search.yahoo.com/search?fr=mcafee&p=chagall+the+mirror
I am not sure if I wouild have known Chagall was Russian apart from the clothes depicted in the paintings.
Do his pictures reflect Russian folk art? Chagall originates from the west of Russia and would have had influences from the countries close but these are so diverse that it is a question not easy to answer.-In the depiction of people, animals and the Russian buildings, and in the variety in the sizes of the images of the people ,yes it reflects folk art-but folk art itself appears to be very busy in colour and pattern and I think this is lost in Chagall’s pictures. It must also be remembered that much Russian art depicted Christian ideals, as had a lot of the art in the West since Roman times and Chagall was of Jewish extract.
Examles of Russian folk art:
I came across this image on a web site:ref (sourced on line (July2013) http://www.masterjules.net/folkart.htm there is no reference as to when or by whom it was painted or in which country but it’s image, the distortion of the body and the depiction of small houses in the background have reverberations of some of Chagall’s art.
Chagall was part of the large Jewish poppulation of Vitebsk which did not approve of painting or of making images of people, consistent with a taboo inherent in the second commandement, (his uncle was afraid to offer Chagall his hand-(ref: book: ” Bohm-Duchen M. Tate Introductions Chagall 2013 Tate Introductions Tate Publishing ISBN: 978-1-84976-037-9) Much of his work may reflect Jewish sayings
The Dead Man Surrealism Expressionism Marc Chagall sourced on line (July 2013) from : http://www.oilpaintingfactory.com/english/oil-painting-92077.htm
This earl painting of 1908 , according to the Tate book, was based on a woman running through the streets screaming for help for a dying husband. The fiddler on the roof and the boot in the air allude to the fact that in times of danger people escaped to the rooftops. So Chagall pictorialises linguistic idioms in this early painting and continues to do so through out his career.
e.g his depiction of the poet Mazin whose head is upside down “turned in giddiness or craziness” after “drink and a love poem transport him to the realms of creativity” ref: quote from information accompanying painting at Tate Liverpool
Half-Past Three (The Poet)
sourced on line (July 2013) from :http://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/51267.html
Chagall was born in 1887 in Vitebsk,Belarusa (close to Poland Lithuania and Latvia)and died in 1985 in France. He lived through the Russian revolution of 1917, the first world war of 1914, and the second world war. He lived in America from 1941 to 1948, having escaped German occupied Europe, the Nazi’s being both antiSemitic and against modern art.
His early painting career was helped by the Jewish artist Yehuda Pen who opened an art school in Vitebsk.
The Watch Maker
by Yehuda Pen sourced on line (July 2013) from:http://www.allposters.co.uk/-sp/The-Watch-Maker-Posters_i9088955_.htm
He became ever more interested in French art of impressionism and moved to Paris. In Paris he painted many colourful happy pictures in various styles and developed friendships with Delaunay and Apollinaire (the poet).
IN this painting “Paris through the window” ” Marc Chagall talks about a mysterious and indecipherable Paris in which nothing -or nobody- is really what they appear to be” reference on line (July 2013) :http://www.theartwolf.com/masterworks/chagall.htm.
Paris through the window 1913
MARC CHAGALL (Russia, 1887-1985)
sourced on line (July 2013) from:http://www.theartwolf.com/masterworks/chagall.htm
This picture according to the Tate information represented Orphism,a form of abstract cubism popular with Delaunay.
Robert Delaunay, Simultaneous Windows on the City, 1912
sourced on line as an example of Delaunay’s Orphism from :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orphism_%28art%29
This painting of 1911-1912 done to commemorate his friendship with Apollinaire takes the figures from Massacio’s “Expulsion from the garden of Eden”, I am not sure why he chose these figures but the names of his Parisians friends appear in the corner.
Homage to Apollinaire / Hommage à Apollinaire 1911 – 1912
Stedelijk Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, Netherland
sourced on line (July 2013) from:http://www.friendsofart.net/en/art/marc-chagall/homage-to-apollinaire_hommage-%C3%A0-apollinaire
Whilst in Paris he produced art work which reflected his memories of his homeland :
The Green Donkey
This painting is described in the Tate exhibition as having strong feelings through its pure colour and primitve flat forms, evoking a fantastical scene due to its ambigious space. Of note are the small figures and buildings in the background-both often found in Chagall’s art work.
sourced on line (July 2013) from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_and_the_Village
This is described by the TATE ” as a surface covered with representative things in which logic and illustration have no importance”…He abandons natural colour, scale, perspective and gravity to make the picture dreamilke” He upholds trhe link between man and nature-(perhaps not so obvious in Paris) and introduces metaphor.
His love of Bella back in Vitebsk lead to a return to Russia in 1914 where he became trapped by the first world war.
He married in 1915 and painted many pictures of home life and of his daughter and wife during this period. He aimed to develop Jewish art in his home country.
In 1917 the Russian revolution gave hope to the Jewish communities and he became involved in the restructuring of the Russian art world until he was usurped by Malevich. Chagall then moved to Moscow to work with the Jewish theatre.
From the group of paintings done around the theatre, on display in the Tate Liverpool exhibition, I was impressed by “Love on the stage” (1920)
XLove On The Stage painted 1920
sourced on line (July 2013 ) from :http://www.liverpoolconfidential.co.uk/Culture/Arts/Review-Chagall-Tate-Liverpool
“Etheral dancers emerge fromtransparent shapes” quote –the TATE
Perhaps it has a feminine lightness about this image, the soft colours, the hint of two people in a dance embrace and the 1920s style elegance of the woman, the lace of her dress and the pointed ballet foot. The cubist overlay and background seems to me to add masculinity to a light feminine picture and detracts from the sensation although seems to put the picturein an art nouveau era.
In 1922 Chagall and family went to Berlin where he started to printmake and developed many black and white images.
In 1923 he went back to Paris but due to the rise of Nazism and the eventaul German occupation of France he fled to America in 1941. Here he became obsessed with hapenings at home, to relatives and his homeland and painted pictures of Jewish suffering and effects of war.
His painting, exhibited in the Tate, Red Roof tops (1953), shows Chagall floating over his old house-in which he introduces black in contrast to brighter colours to express a warmth and passion for things lost.
In 1964 his depiction of war links the suffering of Jews in both Jewish and Christian imagery.
War by Marc Chagall sourced on line (July 2103) from: http://www.friendsofart.net/en/art/marc-chagall/war
The white cow in this picture depicts purity.
Bellla died in 1944 and Chagall lived on in France until the age of 97,dying in 1985…the last remaining memebr of artists who included Picasso, Matisse and Braque.