Lot 10
  • 10

MARC CHAGALL La Chèvre jaune

300,000 - 500,000 EUR
321,000 EUR
bidding is closed


  • Marc Chagall
  • La Chèvre jaune
  • signed Marc Chagall (lower right)
  • India ink wash, gouache and India ink on Japan paper


Galerie Osper, Cologne
Private collection, Germany (acquired before 2002)
Thence by descent to the present owner


Lucerne, Galerie Rosengart, Chagall, lavis et aquarelles, 1967, no. 17, illustrated in the catalogue

Catalogue Note

Marc Chagall was the oldest of a family of nine children. He was born in 1887 in the village of Liozna, near Vitebsk in Russia within a Jewish community. Raised in a Hassidic family, Chagall went to the local religious school where he studied Hebrew and the texts of the Old Testament. In 1906 he began art lessons for Jewish student s with the Russian portrait artist Yehuda Pen in Vitebsk. The following year he moved to St Petersburg where he enrolled in the private art school Zvantseva and attended lessons taught by the very pious Leon Bakst.

The memories of his childhood, his Jewish inheritance and his first educational experiences strongly marked the content of all his works. This powerful image of a figure wearing a Torah conveys the artist's constant concern to maintain his double identity, of both Russian and Jewish. This man could be a Rabbi as Chagall often depicted this subject. He wears the traditional Torah, the Sefer Torah or Torah roll, containing the five sacred books of Judaism in the form of a parchment fixed to two wooden handles, which unfolds as it is read. The star of David is placed almost in the centre of the composition. The Sefer Torah is the result of meticulous copying carried out over thousands of years and contains the secret word. It is considered to be one of the community's greatest treasures and is placed in the Synagogue's most sacred place.

This man thus becomes the emblem of an entire community as remembered by Chagall and which is also evoked in the depictions of the village people and wooden houses of Vitebsk in the background. The work includes many other motifs characteristic of Chagall's style – the goat, the multiple eyes, the flying figures – belong to an iconic vision in which the painter's memories are captured in the expressive force of his images and his inimitable style.