Chagall once said: "I painted cows, dairies, roosters and the architecture of the Russian provinces as a source of forms because all these subjects are part of the country I come from, and these things have without doubt left in my visual memory a more profound impression than all the others that I may have received. Every painter is from somewhere, and even if later he responds to other surroundings, a certain essence, a certain aroma of his native land will always remain in his work" (quoted in Charles Sorlier (ed.), Chagall by Chagall, New York, 1979, p. 78).
Painted during the time when Chagall lived in the South of France, the present work reflects his fascination with the region. Having lived in Paris for several years, Chagall first moved to the Côte d'Azur in 1926. From this inital contact stems his later passion for the region, where the vegetation and the light were a revelation to him. As Walter Erben writes: "The Southern French landscape has astonished Chagall with its wealth of colours and its lyrical atmosphere had captivated him with the beauty of its flowers and foliage. These impressions found their way into his paintings of that period, refined their peinture and lent them a hitherto unknown radiance" (Walter Erben, Marc Chagall, London, 1957, p. 134).
The first owner of the present work was a famed Parisian surgeon who both treated artists and acquired their works for his collection. His 1963 surgery on Alberto Giacometti's malignant stomach tumor saved the artist's life.
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