Lot 62
  • 62

MARC CHAGALL | Les Fruits enchantés

1,600,000 - 2,400,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Marc Chagall
  • Les Fruits enchantés
  • Signed Marc Chagall and dated 1945 (lower right)
  • Oil and pen and ink on canvas
  • 29 1/2 by 20 1/2 in.
  • 74.9 by 52 cm
  • Painted in 1945.


Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York (acquired from the artist)

Mr. & Mrs. Frederick J. Hellman, San Francisco (acquired from the above on April 13, 1946)

California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco (bequest from the above in 1965 and deaccessioned in 1990)

Private Collection, Europe (and sold: Sotheby’s, New York, May 11, 1993, lot 55)

Acquired at the above sale


New York, Pierre Matisse Gallery, Marc Chagall, Paintings: 1945-46, no. 11

San Francisco, The San Francisco Museum of Art, Modern Masters in West Coast Collections, 1960, n.n.

San Francisco, M.H. De Young Memorial Museum, The San Francisco Collector, 1965, no. 121


Franz Meyer, Marc Chagall: Life and Work, New York, 1963, no. 743, illustrated n.p.; listed p. 758

Catalogue Note

A symphony of color fills Les Fruits enchantés, a finely executed work from Chagall's residence in the United States during World War II. While Chagall was devastated by the turmoil in Europe at this time, New York was filled with artists and intellectuals and the lively coterie coupled with the interest of museums and curators was a welcome reprieve. Chagall's contentedness was further complemented by a new exclusive business relationship with Pierre Matisse, whose eponymous New York gallery was fast becoming one of the most groundbreaking in the United States. "Pierre Matisse's first exhibition of paintings by Chagall took place from November to December 1941. The following March Chagall's work was included in the historic exhibition Artists in Exile, and additional one-man shows were held at the Pierre Matisse Gallery annually from 1942 until 1948" (Pierre Matisse and His Artists (exhibition catalogue), The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, 2002, p. 94). In 1944, Chagall's beloved wife Bella suddenly passed away. For months he could not paint. The canvases which appeared the following year are full of tributes to Bella's memory; aside from imagery of couples themselves, many of Chagall's compositions from the years immediately following Bella's death contain long, tapered candles, bouquets of flowers, baskets of fruit and canvases deeply saturated with passionate reds or deep, melancholy blues. 

A year after Les Fruits enchantés was painted, it was sold by Pierre Matisse to Frederick J. Hellman of San Francisco. Hellman was a well respected art collector who donated many of his works to the California Palace of the Legion of Honor including compositions by Vincent van Gogh and John Singer Sargent. Hellman gifted  Les Fruits enchantés to the museum in 1965 where it remained until 1990. It has been in the current private collection for nearly thirty years. 

The authenticity of this work has kindly been confirmed by the Comité Chagall.