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Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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Marc Chagall
1887 - 1985
BOUQUETS D'ŒILLETS AUX AMOUREUX EN VERT
signed Marc Chagall and dated 950 (lower right)
gouache, pastel, oil and brush and ink on paper
80.5 by 58.5cm., 31 5/8 by 23in.
Executed in 1950.
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The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by the Comité Chagall.

Provenance

Private Collection, Paris
Private Collection, Europe (sold: Sotheby's, New York, 11th November 1999, lot 317)
Private Collection, United States (purchased at the above sale. Sold: Christie's, New York, 5th May 2010, lot 248)
Private Collection, United States (purchased at the above sale)
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2015

Exhibited

Beijing, National Art Museum of China, Marc Chagall, 1994, no. 61
Balingen, Balingen Stadthalle & Liège, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Liège, Marc Chagall: Ursprung und Wege, 1998, no. 51, illustrated in the catalogue
Roslyn Harbor, New York, Nassau County Museum of Art, Marc Chagall, 2012, n.n.

Catalogue Note

Bouquet d’œillets aux amoureux en vert dates from 1950, the year in which Marc Chagall first visited the peaceful Provençal town of Vence in the south of France. Throughout Chagall’s life, his work was a poetic metaphor for his turbulent life history, a balancing act which negotiated dream and reality harnessing an imagination that made the invisible visible. The present work is a masterful and graceful composition comprising an array of symbolic motifs that concerned the artist throughout his œuvre, including an embracing couple enveloped by a lush bouquet of blooming carnations, a glowing crescent moon and a statuesque cockerel, boldly rendered in a vibrant royal blue. A vision drawn from the artist’s memory, the cockerel reflects his childhood experience in the small Russian village of Vitebsk, whilst the affectionate couple and depiction of Vence, with its recognisable church, reflect Chagall’s personal affiliations with his new home in France and the romantic relationships that defined his life. An expression of the artist's internal reality, with the crimson flowers bursting out of the vase and punctuating the scene, Bouquet d’œillets aux amoureux en vert is an expressive investigation into the depths of the artist’s imagination.

In the late 1920s Chagall first engaged with what would become a prevailing motif within his practice, colourful bouquets of flowers. Whilst in Toulon in 1924 the artist was captivated by the subject which came to symbolise desire and love, later claiming that he had not known flowers in Russia and that to him they were emblematic of France. Musing on the magical aura conjured by this motif throughout the artist’s opus, Franz Meyer notes, ‘The atmosphere encompasses and pervades the flowers like a magically light airy fluid, vibrant with their vitality’ (Franz Meyer, Marc Chagall, New York, 1963, p. 369). Spanning the height of the sheet, the floral motif is exemplary of Chagall’s masterly ability to harmonise tone and colour. An expressive evocation of fantasy, the present work conveys a magical sensation and reflects Chagall's abandon to the joy of creation.

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