Marc Chagall and his ties with Russia

“Crossing the Neva, I decided that the bridge was suspended from the sky.” \ The Promenade, Russian Museum, St. Petersburg. 1918

“Crossing the Neva, I decided that the bridge was suspended from the sky.” \ The Promenade, Russian Museum, St. Petersburg. 1918

Marc Chagall
Marc Chagall is one of the most famous names of the 20th century avant-garde
Born in 1887 in Liozno, Belarus, Marc Chagall is one of the most famous names of the 20th century avant-garde. / Window in a Village Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, 1915
The first time Chagall lived in Russia in 1906. He spent 4 years studying in an art school in St. Petersburg. / Window over a Garden, Museum-Apartment of Isaak Brodsky, St. Petersburg, 1917
In 1917, during the Revolution, he returned to his native Vitebsk and opened an art school. / View from a Window. Vitebsk. Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, 1914
In 1920 Chagall returned to Moscow and found employment at the Jewish Chamber Theater, where he worked as an artistic designer. The following year Chagall worked as a teacher at a Jewish community school for homeless children. \ Bathing a Baby. State Historical and Architectural Museum, Pskov, Russia, 1916
Marc Chagall met the love of his life, Bertha (Bella) Rosenfeld, in Vitebsk in 1909. Many of his creations were dedicated to his beloved wife. All three pictures of Bella were painted from life, and her image is found in more than two thousand of his works. \ Bella with White Collar, painted in St. Petersburg, private collection, 1917
“My room was flooded with a deep-blue light from a solitary window. It came from afar: from a hill upon which there stood a church. That hillock and church appeared in many of my pictures. I always enjoyed painting them." \ Russian Village. Private collection, 1929
He often recalled life in Moscow: “It suited me. What wasn’t to like? A kind soul took us in. All of us: my wife, darling daughter, nanny and I slept in the same room. We lit the stove. Moisture would start dripping onto the bed. There were tears in our eyes — from smoke and joy. In the corner snow sparkled cotton white. The wind whistled peacefully, the swash of the lapping flames like sonorous kisses.” \ Lovers in Pink. Place of Creation: St. Petersburg. Private collection, 1916
“I painted your portrait, David. You’re laughing your heart out, teeth gleaming, holding a mandolin. Everything’s in blue tones. You’re relaxing in Crimea, a strange land which you tried to depict from the window of the hospital before your death.” \ Portrait of brother David with a Mandolin. Primorsky Krai Art Gallery, Vladivostok, Russia, 1914
In 1922 Chagall emigrated to Europe and then to the United States, where he spent the Second World War. \ Russian Village under the Moon, painted in Paris. Staatsgalerie Moderner Kunst, Munich, Germany. 1911
It was a while before he would journey to Russia again. In 1973, at the invitation of the USSR Ministry of Culture, the 50-year-old Chagall visited Leningrad and Moscow. An exhibition in the Tretyakov Gallery was arranged for him. \ Wedding. Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. 1918
“In the evening my uncle took me to St. Petersburg for treatment. The local doctors gave me three days to live. Wonderful! Everyone’s looking after me. Every day death is approaching. I’m a hero. It turns out the dog had rabies. Well, I wasn’t against going to St. Petersburg. I was convinced I’d bump into the tsar in the street.” Hereinafter quotes are taken from the book "My life", in which Marc Chagall describes his life and remembers his stay in Russia \ Red Jew. Russian Museum, St. Petersburg. 1915
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