Franz Meyer, Marc Chagall, Life and Work, New York, 1963, no. 975, illustrated p. 702
Franz Meyer, Marc Chagall, Paris, 1995, no. 975, illustrated
The subject of colorful bouquets of flowers fascinated Chagall since the late 1920s, and was endlessly explored throughout his artistic career. The artist was first struck by the charm of flowers whilst in Toulon in the south of France in 1924; he later claimed that he had not known of flowers in Russia, and they came to represent France for him. In his dream-like paintings, he consistently drew from a vocabulary of personal symbolism: when painting a bouquet, it was like painting a landscape of his adopted country.
Writing about the subject of flowers in Chagall’s work, Franz Meyer commented: "Many are simple still-lifes with a bunch of red roses and white lilacs; in others, pairs of lovers and air-borne fiddlers gambol through space. The atmosphere encompasses and pervades the flowers like a magically light airy fluid, vibrant with their vitality" (Franz Meyer, op. cit., p. 369). Animal dans les fleurs is a quintessential example of the dream-like quality of Chagall’s art, combining some of the key elements of his pictorial iconography. Here, the bouquet of flowers rises above a Mediterranean landscape, with tenderly painted heads of a young couple at its base, and a fantastical animal behind.
Chagall found a strong affinity between painting and dreaming, which is beautifully reflected in this composition. Rather than representing a rational arrangement of different elements within the space of the painting, Animal dans les fleurs is a compilation of the artist’s favorite subjects, connected by an internal principle rather than by a logical spatial relationship. With its fanciful, dream-like composition, the painting becomes an expression of the artist’s internal universe rather than an objective projection of the outside world.
Very good condition. The sheet is laid down to a masonite panel that is in stable condition. The edges of the sheet are slightly darkened, and the upper right corner had been expertly repaired. There is a retouch to the blue pigment near the center of the right edge and a loss to the white impasto in the figure's face. Over all, the medium is fresh and bright, and the composition is generally in very good condition. In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.