Lot 337
  • 337

Marc Chagall

350,000 - 450,000 USD
850,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Marc Chagall
  • Bouquet avec les amoureux à Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
  • Signed Marc Chagall, dated 949 and inscribed St. Jean Cap Ferrat (lower right)
  • Gouache and pastel on paper laid down on card

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1949, Bouquet avec les amoureux à Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is a wonderfully evocative vision which combines Chagall's most symbolic motifs with his passion for color. Chagall observed an affinity between painting and dreaming, and exquisitely translated this concept into many of his most accomplished compositions, the present work included. This piece was most likely painted during his four-month stay in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat between January and May of 1949, a brief period during which he created only gouaches. Rather than depict a rational arrangement of different elements within the space of the painting, Bouquet avec les amoureux à Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is instead a collation of many of the artist’s most iconic themes. Such an amalgamation results in a whimsical, dream-like composition that becomes an expression of the artist’s internal universe, not an objective commentary of the modern world.

The subject of colorful bouquets of flowers captivated Chagall since the late 1920s, and indeed it is a theme he explored seemingly without end in his oeuvre. In 1924, while in Toulon in the South of France, the artist first began to admire the charm of flowers; he later claimed that he had not known of flowers in Russia, and they came to represent France for him. Writing about the subject of flowers in Chagall’s work, Franz Meyer comments, "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, Marc Chagall, New York, 1963, p. 369). Bouquet avec les amoureux à Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat fleurs is a quintessential example of how Chagall has allowed his imagination to govern the paintbrush, presenting the viewer with various uses of iconography romanticizing different facets of his lifetime.

The journalist Alexander Liberman, who visited Chagall in the late 1950s, eloquently described the complexity and intimacy of Chagall's paintings: "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" (Alexander Liberman, "The Artist in His Studio," 1958, reprinted in Jacob Baal-Teshuva, Chagall: A Retrospective, New York, 1995, p. 337).