- 款識：畫家簽名 Chagall 並題款 Paris（右下）
Jean-Pierre Moueix, Bordeaux (sold: Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc., New York, May 19, 1983, lot 216)
Private Collection, Dallas (acquired from the above sale and sold: Sotheby's, New York, May 3, 2005, lot 45)
Acquired from the above sale
After having spent his formative years in Russia away from the influence of the Western avant-garde, Chagall was overwhelmed by what he encountered in the French capital. "I found myself in the midst of contemporary European artists," he later recalled. "At the Louvre I was captivated by Manet's Olympia, and by Courbet and Delacroix, and I came to understand what Russian art was, and the West. I was captivated by the moderation and taste of French art" (quoted in Marc Chagall (exhibition catalogue), San Francisco Museum of Art, 2003, p. 27). He was particularly impressed by the "wild" aesthetic of the Fauves, most notably, Matisse, who had painted his famous ensemble of dancers for the Muscovite collector Shchukin in 1909-10.
Chagall was mindful of Matisse and the influences of French art when he completed the present work in 1911, but he was also considering the significance of this character with regard to his own Russian heritage. When Chagall moved from St. Petersburg to Paris in 1911, the Russian Ballet was also coming to prominence at the Paris Opera. The artist had designed sets for Serge Diaghilev's ballet the year before, and his own arrival in Paris was confirmation that Russian artists were finally establishing their place amongst the European avant-garde. This gouache, completed with a Fauvist-inspired stylization, is a nod to this cultural cross-over.