Over the course of a 75-year career, Marc Chagall (1887 – 1985) became one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century. Known for his colorful and whimsical images of prophets, flying lovers, and blue cows, Chagall produced paintings, prints, mosaics, stained glass windows, illustrated books, and more. He was born in Vitebsk, Russia, and studied first with with stage set designer Leon Bakst and then in St. Petersburg at the Imperial Society for the Protection of the Arts. In 1910, Chagall moved to Paris where he absorbed influences from Fauvism and Cubism and where he met art dealer Ambroise Vollard who played an important role in Chagall’s work with illustrated books. After living in America during World War II, Chagall returned to France and executed a number of large-scale commissions for murals and stained glass windows around the world.
Prints and illustrated books were a significant part of Chagall’s artistic practice: he contributed to over 100 portfolios and illustrated books between 1921 and 1984 with illustrations executed as etchings, lithographs, woodcuts, and linocuts. Two of his most ambitious book projects were Jean de la Fontaine’s Fables (1952) with 102 color etchings and a 1956 edition of the Bible with 105 etchings. Chagall’s graphic work was well-regarded and in 1948 he was awarded the Grand Prix de Gravure at the Venice Biennale. He frequently collaborated with prominent French publishers such as Tériade Éditions and Maeght Éditeur and he often worked with Mourlot Frères for the printing of his work. His important illustrated books, in addition to those already mentioned, include religious works such as The Story of the Exodus (1966) and Psaumes de David (1979), as well as editions of classic works such as Arabian Nights (1948) and Homer’s L’Odyssée (1975). Chagall also contributed to many books written by his contemporaries in France and produced several significant portfolios including Poèmes (1968) and Songes (1981).
Books by Marc Chagall available from Boreas Fine Art:
Chagall, Marc, Pompidou, Georges, ed. La Poésie. Paris: Art et Poésie. 1976.
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