signed Chagall (lower left); signed Chagall Marc on the reverse
Le Rêve is a poetic meditation that features several of Chagall's favourite motifs, including the flying angel, the lovers and the village. This arrangement suggests a retrospective, as the artist reviews his life with his signature imagery. Chagall said "I painted cows, dairies, roosters and the architecture of the Russian provinces as a source of forms because all these subjects are part of the country I come from, and these things have without doubt left in my visual memory a more profound impression than all the others that I may have received. Every painter is from somewhere, and even if later he responds to other surroundings, a certain essence, a certain aroma of his native land will always remain in his work " (quoted in Charles Sorlier (ed.), Chagall by Chagall, New York, 1979, p. 78).
Commissioned to design a number of stained-glass windows, Chagall began to conceive of paintings such as the present work in terms of broad areas of colour. These areas of bright colour create an image infused with light through the use of pure pigment. As in the Russian stained-glass windows which inspired him, reality is filtered through Chagall's visionary lens, and the chromatic variations of this work exemplify the artist's delight in revealing the sensuous possibilities of colour. As Chagall commented early in his career, shortly after his arrival in Paris, "in our life there is a single colour, as on an artist's palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the colour of love". This somnolent vision can therefore be interpreted as a celebration of love and the fantastical world of the unconscious.
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