L'Âne bleu showcases Chagall’s distinctive visual vocabulary as well as his unique mastery of color. Here, the artist renders a loving couple overlooking a dreamscape of idiosyncratic symbols each central to Chagall’s oeuvre. These familiar characters take center stage, including a rooster, a goat and the rooftops of his native Vitebsk. The rooster was of particular importance for Chagall. As noted by Franz Meyer, the bird had for thousands of years "played a part in religious rites as the embodiment of the forces of the sun and fire. This symbolic meaning still lingers on in Chagall’s work, where the cock represents elementary spiritual power" (Franz Meyer, Marc Chagall, London, 1964, p. 380). In its ethereal application of watercolor, gouache and pastel, the present work evokes the oneiric state that envelops these two lovers, set against the backdrop of Chagall’s treasured childhood memories.
The main symbolic elements of the present composition are also uniquely delineated in bright strokes of blue, red, green and yellow. The use of primary tones evokes Chagall’s earlier work in stained glass while also alluding to the elementary, indispensable nature of the figurative components in the artist’s oeuvre. This palette, like the array of familiar characters, constitute another fundamental pillar of Chagall’s visual repertoire and the memories and emotions his images conjure would distinguish the artist’s work from that of his contemporaries.