39
39

PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTOR

Marc Chagall
LE CIRQUE
Estimate
1,600,0002,200,000
LOT SOLD. 1,812,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
39

PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTOR

Marc Chagall
LE CIRQUE
Estimate
1,600,0002,200,000
LOT SOLD. 1,812,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
New York

Marc Chagall
1887 - 1985
LE CIRQUE
Signed Marc Chagall (lower right); signed Marc Chagall (on the reverse)
Oil on canvas
36 1/8 by 28 3/4 in.
92 by 73 cm
Painted in 1979-81.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

The authenticity of this work has kindly been confirmed by the Comité Chagall.

Provenance

Ida Chagall, Paris

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem (acquired as a gift from the above in 1990 and sold: Sotheby's, New York, November 2, 2011, lot 44)

Private Collection, Europe (acquired at the above sale)

Acquired from the above by the present owner

Catalogue Note

Chagall's fascination with the circus dates back to his childhood in Vitebsk and his years in Paris when he frequently attended the circus with Ambroise Vollard. As Venturi explains, "The importance of the circus motif in modern French literature and painting is well known; in painting it suffices to recall the names of Seurat and Rouault. As always, Chagall's images of circus people ... are at once burlesque and tender. Their perspective of sentiment, their fantastic forms, suggest that the painter is amusing himself in a freer mood than usual; and the result is eloquent of the unmistakable purity flowing from Chagall's heart. These circus scenes are mature realizations of earlier dreams" (L. Venturi, Marc Chagall, New York, 1945, p. 39).

Chagall found endless pleasure in depicting the visual splendor of the circus. Throughout his career he drew great creative energy from watching the event, and some of his most important canvases are fantastic depictions that exaggerate the pageantry of the performance. "It's a magic world, the circus," Chagall once wrote, "an age-old game that is danced, and in which tears and smiles, the play of arms and legs take the form of great art... The circus is the performance that seems to me the most tragic. Throughout the centuries, it has been man's most piercing cry in his search for entertainment and joy. It often takes the form of lofty poetry. I seem to see a Don Quixote in search of an ideal, like that marvelous clown who wept and dreamed of human love."

Le Cirque was part of Ida Chagall's collection of her father's works. Ida Chagall was born in Vitebsk, Russia to Chagall and his first wife, Bella Rosenfeld. The imagery of Vitebsk was often incorporated by the artist in his compositions and served as part of his personal mythology. In 1990, by then in her early seventies, Ida donated over one-hundred works by Chagall to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The present work formed part of the museum's permanent collection until its deaccession in 2011. Ida's second husband Franz Meyer, a director of the Kunstmuseum in Basel, Switzerland, wrote the famed Marc Chagall monograph on the artist while Ida arranged and curated many exhibitions of her father's work. 

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
New York