Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale


Marc Chagall
1887 - 1985
stamped [Mar]c Chagall (lower centre)
oil on canvas
46.2 by 27.1cm., 18 1/8 by 10 5/8 in.
Painted circa 1962. 
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The authenticity of this work has kindly been confirmed by the Comité Chagall.


Estate of the Artist
Galerie Odermatt, Paris (acquired by 1995)
Private Collection, Florida (acquired from the above in 1996)
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Catalogue Note

The theme of the circus was explored endlessly by Chagall throughout his long career. Growing up in the Russian town of Vitebsk, he was accustomed to seeing street performers and acrobats: memories that were transformed into some of his most iconic and energetic works. The circus gave Chagall the opportunity to explore some of his most profound themes, such as loss, fantasy, and escapism. Later, while living in Paris, he frequently attended shows accompanied by Ambroise Vollard.

Chagall considered the spectacle of the circus as a crucially visual and poetic experience, a transcendental parallel to everyday life, which satisfied his imagination and his propensity for pure travel and lyricism: ‘the circus is a magical world, a continuous dancing game in which tears and laughter, the movement of arms and legs constitute a totally unique art’ (Marc Chagall, Le Cirque (exhibition catalogue), Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, 1981, n.p.).

The dancer at the centre of the present composition glows with a resplendent pink, which contrasts beautifully with the blues and greens of the figures surrounding her. The violinist to her right and the floating profile of the female head at the bottom left of the canvas are frequent motifs within Chagall’s œuvre. The tiered seating within the circus tent frames the composition with the audience painted in a floral cacophony of colour. L'écuyère en rose invites us to join in with the joy of this circus imagined by Chagall, and experience the music and its escapist nature.

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale