Throughout Chagall's career in France, the subjects of his works shift from his native Russia, in particular the town of Vitebsk and his Jewish heritage, and France his adoptive country.
The theme of the married couple is a leitmotiv of his work and one of his major iconographic themes. To begin with it was depicted as a sublimed celebration of his own weddings, the first with Bella Rosenfeld, the love of his youth, who died in 1944, and the second with Vava (Valentina Brodsky) in 1952.
This large format, beautiful gouache is a very accomplished example of this iconic subject. The union of the levitating young married couple is glorified by the presence of two stars in the sky which transform this celebration into a tribute to a mystic union.
At the centre of the composition, the window recalls the one in the Vence studio where Chagall established himself in 1946. Present in many paintings, it opens onto the sky, the Mediterranean, the bay of Nice, but the wooden bars are reminiscent of the traditional Shtetl houses in Vitebsk. The nostalgic references to Jewish traditions which bathed the painter's childhood are numerous. The bridegroom seems to be wearing a kippa. The candelabra, which appears frequently in his works, is a reference to the Menora and its sacred fire which appears to bless the couple, a symbol of ardent and eternal love. The image of the flower bouquet that Chagall employed over and over again symbolizes life, nature, the fertility and the beauty of married life.
As early as 1914, the subject of lovers appeared in the large format gouaches where young couples of lovers float above Vitebsk. In the 1950s and 1960s Chagall often returned to the theme of nigh time atmospheres. In Vence he frequented Picasso and Matisse and it was in this Mediterranean climate that he felt revived, after the war years spent in the United States, and where he was able to develop in such a dazzling fashion his aesthetic language. The beauty of the Côte d'Azur, the bright colours and brilliant nature set against a background of deep blue sea, breathed new life into his pictorial universe. It was here that his use of blue and black tones came to a peak in the very specific radiance associated with his mature work. The present gouache, of exceptional size, has never been presented on the market, and is a masterpiece from the painter's last great period.