406
406

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Marc Chagall
ÉTUDE POUR AUTOPORTRAIT
Estimate
150,000250,000
LOT SOLD. 150,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
406

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Marc Chagall
ÉTUDE POUR AUTOPORTRAIT
Estimate
150,000250,000
LOT SOLD. 150,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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New York

Marc Chagall
1887 - 1985
ÉTUDE POUR AUTOPORTRAIT
Signed Marc Chagall (lower right) 
Oil, gouache, colored crayons and brush and ink on paper laid down on card
12 1/2 by 9 1/2 in.
31.7 by 24.1 cm
Executed in 1947.
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The authenticity of this work has kindly been confirmed by the Comité Chagall.

Provenance

Aharon Cohen, Jerusalem (acquired directly from the artist during the period he was the Israeli ambassador to France)
Private Collection, Jerusalem (and sold: Sotheby’s, Tel Aviv, May 24, 1987, lot 317)
Private Collection (acquired at the above sale)
Sale: Christie's, London, June 25, 2014, lot 158
Acquired at the above sale

Exhibited

St. Louis, Missouri, The Jewish Federation of St. Louis, Marc Chagall, Selected Works 1926-1980, 1986-87, no. 23

Catalogue Note

Executed in 1947, Étude pour Autoportrait is a dream-like landscape characteristic of Chagall’s post-war repertoire. Dancing brushstrokes and swathes of vibrant color illuminate the artist’s intimate affinity between life and art, and the present work recalls the profound optimism Chagall felt years after the devastation of war and his own exile from Europe to escape such trauma. The enchanting scene discernable in Étude pour Autoportrait juxtaposes the Slavic folk spirit of Chagall’s Russian childhood with the nostalgia and romance he found inherent to his adopted home of France. Chagall’s psychology and narrative are communicated through powerful recurring motifs, and such themes manifest the framework of the present composition. The motif of the lovers is essential to Chagall’s oeuvre—here the pair locked in warm embrace float enigmatically over the deeply saturated purple background. The lovers bestow an aura of exquisite tenderness, and evoke the artist’s own feelings of emotional complexity towards his companion, Virginia Haggard McNeil. Brightly colored animals convey equal significance to Chagall’s visual inventory, and the creatures of the artist’s imagination form a unique impression of utopia: “For Chagall, the animals represent harmony and contentment with the cyclic destiny of nature; the innocent acceptance of being a part of nature’s great ensemble of living things” (Werner Haftmann, Chagall, New York, 1973, p. 136). Étude pour Autoportrait is a self-portrait after all, and Chagall appears to convey himself through the features of a red goat present at the top of the work. He employs this motif as a similar device of self-representation in his masterpiece Autoportrait à l’horloge, executed in the same year, and in both works, this crimson creature watches over the embracing lovers, as if offering benediction of their love (see fig. 1). The lyrical energy and overflowing romance of the present work embodies Chagall’s sentiments of regeneration and idealism during this transformative period of artistic output, and ultimately offers an exceptional glance into Chagall’s imaginative and fantastical psyche.

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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New York