- Marc Chagall
- Autour de la nuit
- Signed Marc Chagall (lower right)
- Brush and pen and ink, ink wash, gouache and pastel on paper
- 25 7/8 by 19 7/8 in.
- 65.5 by 50.3 cm
Acquired at the above sale
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
It was love at first sight for Chagall when in 1909 he met Bella Rosenfeld, the daughter of a Vitebsk merchant. Describing meeting her for the first time, Chagall wrote: “Her silence is mine, her eyes mine. It is as if she knows everything about my childhood, my present, my future, as if she can see right through me; as if she has always watched over me, somewhere next to me, though I saw her for the very first time. I knew this is she, my wife. Her pale colouring, her eyes. How big and round and black they are! They are my eyes, my soul…” (quoted in Jakie Wullschlager, Chagall: A Biography, New York, 2008, p. 89). They married in 1915 and lived together for almost three decades; she was very much his muse who would continue to appear in his work for the rest of his life. “Always present—watching, advising, refining—[Bella] supplied echo and answers to artistic questions, formed contacts, removed obstacles. She was and still is the archetype of the loved one, the bride who leans toward her young groom in so many pictures, the tender girl who dreams in her lover’s arms” (Franz Meyer, Marc Chagall, Life and Work, New York, 1963, pp. 465-66).
Autour de la nuit comes from the collection of Maximilian Schell, the famed actor who won an Oscar & Golden Globe for his role in Judgement at Nuremberg and was nominated for numerous other Oscar and Gold Globe awards throughout his career (see fig. 1). Schell acquired the work directly from Chagall who Schell met at the artist’s home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. It remained in his collection until 2011 when it was acquired by the present owner. A letter detailing the acquisition of Autour de la nuit and a signed photograph from Schell accompany this work.