P ainted in his studio in Vence in 1977-1980, La Mariée au Collier, is a wonderful showcase for how nature and light informed Marc Chagall’s work in this period. The work is listed in the Art Impressionniste et Moderne sale taking place in Paris on 19 October 2018. The vibrant colours of the southern French market town inspired the imaginative Chagall, who had first visited Vence in 1950 before making it his home in 1966. In this particular work, the town’s recognisable pink roofs can be seen in the background.
With its atmospheric use of blues, misty greens, phosphorescent whites, bright reds and yellows, La Mariée au Collier creates a sumptuous, almost magical setting in which he positions his young lovers. Recurring subjects in Chagall's work, the couple caress one another and seem united, almost as one. The young woman is foregrounded, appearing almost Venetian and framed by a necklace of pearls and a delicate veil. On the right of the composition an enlarged bouquet of flowers, another of the painter’s favourite motifs, symbolises desire and love.
The mysticism of the image is suggested by the anti-naturalist style of the trees and bird to the left of the painting, the artist’s playful use of scale and perspective, and the sense of a freedom from gravity; the couple and the flowers almost appear to float. All of Chagall’s work can be categorised as having "great sense of the marvellous" and he was inspired by a sense of the perpetual wandering of the soul, which he connected to his Jewish heritage.
As a complete work La Mariée au Collier is a classic example of Chagall’s oeuvre, encompassing several of his favourite motifs, his luxurious colour palette and spellbinding storytelling.