MARc Chagall

Marc Chagall (1887, Belarus - 1985, France) was an early modernist, he was associated with several major artistic styles and created works in virtually every artistic format, including painting, book illustrations, stained glass, stage sets, ceramic, tapestries and fine art prints. Chagall developed an early interest in art. After studying painting, in 1907 he left Russia for Paris, where he lived in an artist colony on the city's outskirts. Fusing his own personal, dreamlike imagery with hints of the fauvism and cubism popular in France at the time, Chagall created some of his most lasting works- including I and the Village (1911)- some of which would be featured in the Salon des Indépendants exhibitions. After returning to Vitebsk for a visit in 1914, the outbreak of WWI trapped Chagall in Russia. He returned to France in 1923 but was forced to flee the country because of the Nazi persecution during WWII. Finding asylum in the U.S., Chagall became involved in set and costume design before returning to France in 1948. In his later years, he experimented with new art forms and was commissioned to produce numerous large-scale works. 

Chagall worked in many radical modernist styles at various points throughout his career, including Cubism, Suprematism and Surrealism, all of which possibly encouraged him to work in an entirely abstract style. Yet, he rejected each of them in succession, remaining committed to figurative and narrative art, making him one of the modern period's most prominent exponents of the more traditional approach. His Jewish identity was important throughout his life, and much of his work can be described as an attempt to reconcile old Jewish traditions with styles of modernist art. However, he also occasionally drew on Christian themes, which appealed to his taste for narrative and allegory.

Chagall's work is housed in a variety of locations, including the 'Palais Garnier' (the Opera de Paris), the Art Institute of Chicago, Chase Tower Plaza of downtown Chicago, the Metropolitan Opera, the Metz Cathedral, Notre-Dame de Reims, the Fraumünsterabbey in Zürich, Switzerland, the Church of St. Stephan in Mainz, Germany and the Biblical Message museum in Nice, France, which Chagall helped to design. The only church in the world with a complete set of Chagall window-glass is located in the tiny village of Tudeley, in Kent, England.

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