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 Marc Chagall

Born:   6 July 1887
Deceased:   28 March 1985



Marc Chagall is a famous painter, graphic artist, theatre artist, illustrator, and a master of monumental and applied arts. One of the leaders of world avant-garde of the 20th century, Chagall managed to blend harmoniously ancient traditions of Judaic culture with ultramodern innovations.

Marc Zakharovich Chagall was born in Vitebsk on June, 24th (on July, 6th) 1887. He got traditional religious education at home (including the Hebrew language and studies of Torah and Talmud). The future artist made his first steps in art with the guidance of painter Yehuda Pen (1854-1937).

In 1907 Marc Chagall moved to Saint Petersburg, entered the Society of Encouragement of Arts (1907-1908), and later studied in the private studio of S.M. Zeidenberg (1908) and Yelizaveta Zvantseva’s school, where his tutors were the graphic and theatrical artist Mstislav Dobuzhinsky and the painter, graphic artist and theatrical artist Leo Bakst. Chagall lived in Petersburg, Vitebsk and Moscow, and in 1910–1914 the artist dwelled in Paris.

June, 1914 in Berlin saw his first personal exhibition, which included almost all his works created in Paris; it stroke a chord with young German painters and gave an impetus to the expressionistic movement that arose after World War I.

After the October Revolution in 1918-1919 Chagall served as a commissioner of the Bolsheviks Communist Party in the provincial department of national education in Vitebsk, and made designs to decorate the city for revolutionary holidays. In Moscow Chagall painted a number of large wall panels for the Jewish Chamber Theater, and thereby made his first considerable step towards monumental art.

In 1922 Marc Chagall left for Berlin, and from 1923 lived in France - in Paris or in the south of the country. The artist spent 1941–1947 in New York. Periodically he travelled to different countries of Europe and the Mediterranean, and visited Israel time and again.

By the middle of the 20th century his authority as a painter, graphic artist, theatrical artist, and decorative ceramics (in which he was engaged from 1950) gained world-wide recognition.

In 1973 Chagall visited Moscow and St. Petersburg in connection with the exhibition of his works in the Tretyakov Gallery.

A great number of European and world distinctions received by the artist throughout his long life was crowned with the highest award of France, Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour in 1977.

In October 1977 — January 1978 Louvre, as an exception from the rule, held an exhibition in honor of the thriving artist (on the occasion of Chagall’s 90th anniversary).

The museum “Bible Message” housed in a building designed by Marc Chagall and decorated with his works was opened in Nice on July, 1973; the government of France gave the status of a national museum to this unusual Chagall’s “church”.

The major leading element of Marc Chagall’s creativity was his national Jewish feeling inseparably linked with his artistic calling.

“If I weren't a Jew as I understand it, I wouldn't have been an artist or would have been an absolutely different artist”- Chagall wrote about his position in one of his essays. Besides his artistic activities, Marc Chagall throughout all his life wrote poems, publicist essays and memoirs in Yiddish. Marc Chagall died in Sen-Pol-de-Vans (Maritime Alps, France) on March, 28th, 1985.


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