157
157

PROPERTY FROM AN ESTATE

Marc Chagall
LES PAYSANS
Estimate
250,000350,000
JUMP TO LOT
157

PROPERTY FROM AN ESTATE

Marc Chagall
LES PAYSANS
Estimate
250,000350,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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New York

Marc Chagall
1887 - 1985
LES PAYSANS
Signed Marc Chagall (lower right)
Gouache, watercolor, ink wash and brush and ink on paper
24 1/2 by 19 in.
62.2 by 48.2 cm
Executed in 1964.
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The authenticity of this work has kindly been confirmed by the Comité Chagall.

Provenance

Galerie Maeght, Paris
Acquired in Israel after 1964

Exhibited

Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, 1996, n.n, illustrated in color in the catalogue 

Literature

IFAR Journal, vol. 10, no. 3/4, 2008-09, illustrated p. 59

Catalogue Note

Bringing together many of the motifs and imagery that Chagall had developed throughout his career, Les Paysans shows the artist exploring his various sources of his artistic inspiration. The array of folkloric imagery is assembled in a dense and complex composition containing several of the most crucial elements in his pictorial iconography: the peasant and goat, a familial scene of mother and child, the dual presence of the sun and the crescent moon, and a landscape of the artist’s birthplace of Vitebsk. As Susan Compton writes in the catalogue of the Royal Academy's Chagall retrospective, "Throughout his life certain themes recur in the work of Chagall: the circus, lovers and peasants... For the themes in Chagall's art are timeless, not confined to a single epoch of history, but reminding man of the continuity of life for generation and generation, since the earliest days of recorded time" (Susan Compton, Chagall (exhibition catalogue), Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1985, p. 14).

By 1976, Chagall had much to reflect on; Eastern Europe remained at the forefront of his mind—even more so following his emotional visit in 1973 after an absence of over fifty years—yet at the same time he had been happily settled in Vence for many years. In the present work, the vibrantly colored goat, a symbol of the artist’s agrarian roots, is cradled by a solemn peasant, and together they recall Chagall’s rural upbringing in Vitebsk. The rural life he experienced there was the subject of his earliest forays into artistic expression and remained a mainstay of his visual vocabulary. As he explained: “The fact that I made use of cows, milkmaids, roosters and provincial Russian architecture as my source forms is because they are part of the environment from which I spring and which undoubtedly left the deepest impression on my visual memory of any experiences I have known... The vital mark these early influences leave is, as it were, on the handwriting of the artist” (quoted in James Johnson Sweeney, “An Interview with Marc Chagall” in Jacob Baal-Teshuva, Chagall, A Retrospective, New York, 1995, p. 278).

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