Lot 4
  • 4

Marc Chagall

1,000,000 - 1,500,000 USD
4,757,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Marc Chagall
  • Animal dans les fleurs
  • Signed Marc Chagall and dated 1952-9 (lower left)
  • Gouache, watercolor, pastel and oil on paper


Galerie Maeght, Paris

E. David & M. Garnier, Paris

Acquired from the above on December 12, 1959


Franz Meyer, Marc Chagall, Life and Work, New York, 1963, no. 975, illustrated p. 702

Franz Meyer, Marc Chagall, Paris, 1995, no. 975, illustrated

Catalogue Note

The subject of colorful bouquets of flowers fascinated Chagall since the late 1920s, and was endlessly explored throughout his artistic career. The artist was first struck by the charm of flowers whilst in Toulon in the south of France in 1924; he later claimed that he had not known of flowers in Russia, and they came to represent France for him. In his dream-like paintings, he consistently drew from a vocabulary of personal symbolism: when painting a bouquet, it was like painting a landscape of his adopted country.

Writing about the subject of flowers in Chagall’s work, Franz Meyer commented: "Many are simple still-lifes with a bunch of red roses and white lilacs; in others, pairs of lovers and air-borne fiddlers gambol through space. The atmosphere encompasses and pervades the flowers like a magically light airy fluid, vibrant with their vitality" (Franz Meyer, op. cit., p. 369). Animal dans les fleurs is a quintessential example of the dream-like quality of Chagall’s art, combining some of the key elements of his pictorial iconography. Here, the bouquet of flowers rises above a Mediterranean landscape, with tenderly painted heads of a young couple at its base, and a fantastical animal behind.

Chagall found a strong affinity between painting and dreaming, which is beautifully reflected in this composition. Rather than representing a rational arrangement of different elements within the space of the painting, Animal dans les fleurs is a compilation of the artist’s favorite subjects, connected by an internal principle rather than by a logical spatial relationship. With its fanciful, dream-like composition, the painting becomes an expression of the artist’s internal universe rather than an objective projection of the outside world.