Lot 325
  • 325

Marc Chagall

150,000 - 250,000 USD
173,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Marc Chagall
  • Maquettes pour les vitraux du choeur de l’Église Saint-Étienne de Mayence comprenant: Les Femmes de la Bible, La Généalogie d’Abraham, Les Prophètes
  • Tempera, gouache, black pencil and ink on paper


Estate of the artist
Private Collection, France


Nice, Musée National Message Biblique Marc Chagall, Marc Chagall, Vitraux et sculptures, 1984, nos. 141, 142 & 144


Sylvie Forestier, Chagall, L'Oeuvre monumental: les vitraux, Milan, 1987, illustrated nos. 194-196

Catalogue Note

i. Les Femmes de la Bible (fenêtre gauche)
Signed Marc Chagall and dated 1978 (lower right)
Tempera, gouache, black pencil and pen and ink on paper
56 1/8 by 11 7/8  in.; 142.6 by 30.2 cm

ii. La Généalogie d’Abraham (fenêtre centrale)
Signed Marc Chagall and dated 1977 (lower right)
Tempera, gouache, black pencil and pen and ink on paper
42 by 11 3/4  in.; 106.7 by 29.7 cm

iii. Les Prophètes (fenêtre droite)
Signed Marc Chagall and dated 1978 (lower right)
Tempera, gouache, black pencil and pen and ink on paper
55 7/8  by 11 7/8  in.; 141.9 by 30 cm


Introduction to lots 330, 331 & 332

Toward the end of his life and at the peak of his success, Chagall took on commissions to design stained glass windows to adorn cathedrals and public buildings in many countries around the world. Representing religious or secular subjects as appropriate to the setting, he created colorful, lyrical compositions that bear all the emblematic hallmarks of his mature work. Saint Stephen’s Church in Mainz was his final project and his only one in Germany. The location had historical and symbolic significance for the artist: the church had been badly damaged during World War II and Chagall, a Russian-born Jew who had fled Nazi-occupied France, intended his work to be a contribution toward Jewish-German reconciliation. For this project he therefore poignantly chose to depict scenes from the Old Testament in order to highlight shared Christian and Jewish traditions. He began work on the gouache plans for the windows around 1973 and the first panes were fitted in 1978. The final window was completed shortly before his death in 1985.

Note for this lot

Chagall’s visual universe, characterized by light and color, lent itself exceptionally well to the medium of stained glass. The challenges of the new medium inspired him, and he was particularly fascinated by the creative role played by light. As Susan Compton has expressed: “Because natural light is unpredictable and its brightness changes from moment to moment, it may suddenly transform the shapes, shining more or less strongly through the glass so that form and color depend ultimately on its power. […] The effect is quite different from a canvas covered with paint which deflects the light rays. On the contrary, the colored areas of glass framed by lead are penetrated by light, and the density is achieved by creating more or less opaque areas of pure color” (Chagall, (exhibition catalogue), London, Royal Academy of Arts, 1985, p. 254). The gouache sketches he prepared for the windows in Mainz reveal his artistic process, showing how he visualized the final result that would be realized with the collaboration of stained glass specialist Charles Marq. In his notes to Marq, still visible on these maquettes, Chagall was especially meticulous in his choice of colors, wishing to fill the entire church with harmonious blue light. Within this cerulean rhapsody, angels and other Biblical figures float ethereally, evoking the spirit of peace, acceptance and partnership with which Chagall approached this deeply personal project.