Marc Chagall

Vitebsk, Russia July 7, 1887


Attempting to place Marc Chagall (born 1887 - died 1985) within an art-historical framework is always difficult as he held a deep mistrust of movements and consciously disassociated himself from current schools and any sort of dogma. This is not to say he was unaware of art history, but he freely borrowed where he saw fit, while making sure he was indebted to nobody. Certainly the influences of his childhood in Russia as well as Russian Icons, Folk art and especially his Jewishness figure more prominently in his work that movements such as Surrealism or Expressionism.

Celebrated as a great colourist, Chagall's colour has nothing whatsoever to do with nature. His colour does not relate to a world seen but rather a world felt, Chagall was an artist who related his own intimacy and temperament in a way which becomes universal through the intensity of his mean of expression.

Primarily a painter, Chagall also sought other means of expression and was active in sculpture, ceramics, stained glass, engraving and lithography, virtually until the time of his death aged ninety seven. His images free from overly realistic reference, rise from an emotional source, at times sentimental, mystical or illogical and yet continue to captivate art lovers to this day.