- Marc Chagall
- Étude pour Hommage à Apollinaire ou Adam et Ève
- Signed Chagall (lower right)
- Gouache, watercolor, ink wash, pen and ink and collage on paper
- 8 1/4 by 6 7/8 in.
- 21 by 17.5 cm
Private Collection, London
Mrs. Donald Ogden Stewart, London (by 1964)
Harcourts Gallery, San Francisco
Wilkey Fine Arts, New York
Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, Marc Chagall: Oeuvres sur Papier, 1984, no. 31, illustrated in the catalogue p. 70
New York, The Jewish Museum, Chagall and the Bible, 1987, n.n.
Norfolk, Virginia, The Chrysler Museum, Proud Possessions: A Community Collects, 1992, n.n.
Centre Georges Pompidou, Marc Chagall: Oeuvres sur Papier (exhibition catalogue), Paris,1984, no. 31, illustrated p. 70
Ine Gevers, Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Hommage à Apollinaire (exhibition catalogue), 1987, no. 9, illustrated p. 24
The present work relates to a monumental and groundbreaking work from Chagall's first Paris period, Homage à Apollinaire, 1911-12 (see fig. 1). The ambitious amalgation of Cubism and Orphism informed by the artist's singular imagination mark this subject as one of the most significant from Chagall's oeuvre. In the current study, Chagall incorporates collage into the cubistic space - a deeply semiotic gesture that parallels the contemporaneous works of Picasso and Braque.
Jacob Baal-Teshuva writes of the final version of this work, "In this strongly cubist painting, Chagall has developed his own ideas for structural organisation of the canvas. The two central figures (the female holding an apple) are taken from studies for Adam and Eve. A multitude of meanings can be read into this amazing work. It can be seen as a symbolic representation of the Creation Story, the dial being the Clock of Eternity... Chagall links his admiration for Cubism and Orphism with the Jewish mysticism embodied in Hasidism and the Cabbala" (Jacob Baal-Teshuva, Marc Chagall, 1887-1985, Cologne, 1998, p. 47).
Franz Meyer writes of this work and another preparatory gouache, "The curious central motif of Homage à Apollinaire - a couple fused up to the hips in a single body and separated only from there up - first appears in two small gouaches. The Bible story of the creation of Eve may offer a clue to its interpretation. God drew Eve from the flank of Adam, thus creating the two sexes. This dual-natured being stands under the Tree of Knowledge with apples in its hands; nearby, the serpent rears its head. Thus, Chagall linked the Biblical motif of the division of the sexes with the Fall of Man" (Franz Meyer, op. cit., p. 154).
The artist dedicates this work to Guillaume Apollinaire, the poet and Cubism enthusiast whom he met in 1911. Apollinaire was immediately taken with Chagall's "supernatural" world, as he called it, and the two became close friends. Immortalized in a seminal portrait by Picasso, Apollinaire was a vital proponent of the avant-garde (see fig. 2).
Fig. 1 Marc Chagall, Homage à Apollinaire, 1911-12, oil on canvas, Stedelijk Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven
Fig. 2 Pablo Picasso, Portrait d'Apollinaire, 1912, pencil and ink wash on paper, Private Collection, Paris