Stamped with the signature (lower right)
The authenticity of this work has kindly been confirmed by the Comité Chagall.
Estate of the artist
Sale: Sotheby's, London, June 28, 1988, lot 40
Private Collection (acquired at the above sale)
Private Collection (sold: Sotheby's, New York, May 1, 1996, lot 66)
Acquired at the above sale
Paris, Grand Palais, Hommage à Marc Chagall, 1969-70, no. 204
Tokyo, National Museum of Art; Kyoto, Municipal Museum; Nagoya, Prefectural Museum; Kumamoto, Prefectural Museum, Marc Chagall, 1976, no. 37
Werner Haftmann, Marc Chagall, Cologne, 1972, no. 47, illustrated p. 159
André Pieyre de Mandiargues, Chagall, Bern, 1975, no. 126, illustrated p. 170
La Baou de Saint-Jeannet depicts the mountain range of the same name that overlooks the town of Vence in southern France. Chagall moved here in 1950, and the colors and brilliant light of the region inspired his luminous paintings of this era. In his monograph on the artist, Werner Haftmann writes the following about this picture: “The landscape appears in a lovely nocturnal light. This is the hour when the moon casts its silvery sheen over the land and forms all separate details into large vague shapes. Against a dark-blue sky looms the blackish outline of the mountain, casting its cloak of darkness over village and valley. A little blue cow grazes in the peaceful twilight. To the left an immense spray of flowers shoots skyward like a fountain, the brilliant whiteness suggesting the cold light of the moon. To the right a smaller bouquet glows in warm red and yellow like an aureole, and the radiance and warmth of the departed day are still reflected in its light. All these happenings which have been brought about by the color create a magical transfigured atmosphere, where it does not seem at all unusual for the mountain crest to be transformed into two human faces closely pressed against each other” (Werner Haftmann, Chagall, New York, 1972, p. 158).
The two faces atop the mountain are likely references to Chagall and his wife, Valentine Brodsky (Vava). The artist believed that marriage was the spiritual union of two souls, and here the couple's bond is exemplified through the grandeur of nature. Hoffman writes, “Following this poetic trail, one comes to realize that the enveloping gesture of the mountain symbolizes the loving embrace with which the man and woman enfold the land that has become their home, merging it completely” (ibid).
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