Galerie Maeght, Paris
Perls Galleries, New York (acquired from the above in 1965)
Evelyn Sharp (acquired from the above in 1965 and sold: Sotheby's, New York, November 12, 1997, lot 20)
Private Collection (acquired at the above sale and sold: Christie's, London, June 24, 2008, lot 71)
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, n.d.
New York, Perls Galleries, Marc Chagall Paintings 1955-64, 1965
Tokyo, National Museum of Modern Art; Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art; Nagoya, Aichi Museum; Kumamoto Prefectural Museum, Marc Chagall, 1976, no.13
New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Evelyn Sharp Collection, 1978, no.14
Tokyo, Nihonbashi Takashimaya Gallery; Ohita Prefectural Museum; Iwate Prefectural Museum, Tokyo, Tachikawa Takashimaya Gallery; Tokyo, Tamagawa Takashimaya Gallery; Kyoto, Takashimaya Gallery; Fukushima Prefectural Museum; Nagoya, Meitetsu Gallery; Toyama, Takaoka Municipal Museum; Hokkaido, Sapporo Marui Gallery, Chagall, 1980, no. P8, illustrated in the catalogue
Stockholm, Moderna Museet, Marc Chagall Retrospective, 1982, no. 77, illustrated in the catalogue
Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Fondation Maeght, Marc Chagall Retrospective de l'oeuvre peint, 1984, no. 57, illustrated in the catalogue
Tokyo, Nihonbashi Takashimaya Gallery; Osaka, Takashimaya Gallery; Yokohama, Takashimaya Gallery; Kyoto, Takashimaya Gallery, Hommage à Chagall, 1986, no. 33
Tokyo, The Bunkamura Fine Arts Museum; Kasama Nichido Museum; Nagoya City Art Museum, Chagall, 1989-1990, no. 103
Munich, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kultustiftung, Marc Chagall, 1991, no. 82, illustrated in the catalogue
Particularly striking in the present work is the contrast between the heavy impasto and deeply saturated colors of the bouquets of flowers and the pearlescent tones of the background. While depicting elements of the traditional interior genre, such as the candelabra and the tabletop, Chagall still manages to undermine a logical spatial relationship by rendering various objects on unrelated scales. This abandon to the joy of creation and the artistic freedom of interpretation reflect Chagall's confidence in his style and technique and his deeply individual and subjective approach to painting. With its fantastical, dream-like composition, the painting becomes an expression of the artist's internal feelings and souvenirs rather than an objective projection of the outside world.
When Chagall painted the present work in 1956, he was in the midst of publishing one of his most ambitious series of etchings for an illustrated version of the Bible. The journalist Alexander Liberman visited Chagall in Vence after these etchings were published in 1956, and noted how Chagall's skills as a draughtsman at this point were at their most refined. Indeed, we can see that linear precision in the form of the mother and child in the upper right of the present composition.
Liberman's description of Chagall's painting, written two years after the present work was completed, is insightful for its recognition of the time needed to absorb the complexities of the artist's colorful compositions. He writes, "Like a human being, a Chagall painting reveals its rich complexity only if one has lived with it and in it, in the way the artist has during its creation. One must look at his paintings closely to experience their full power. After the impact of the overall effect, there is the joy of the close-up discovery. In this intimate scrutiny, the slightest variation takes on immense importance. We cannot concentrate for a long time; our senses tire quickly and we need, after moments of intense stimulation, periods of rest. Chagall understands this visual secret better than most painters; he draws our interest into a corner where minute details hold it, and when we tire of that, we rest, floating in a space of color, until the eye lands on a new small island of quivering life." (A. Liberman, "The Artist in His Studio", 1958, reprinted in J. Baal-Teshuva, Chagall: A Retrospective, China, 1995, p. 337)
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