The journalist Alexander Liberman, who visited Chagall in Vence in the late 1950s, eloquently described the intricacy of Chagall's mature paintings: "Like a human being, a Chagall painting reveals its rich complexity only if one has lived with it and in it, in the way the artist has during its creation. One must look at his paintings closely to experience their full power. After the impact of the overall effect, there is the joy of the close-up discovery. In this intimate scrutiny, the slightest variation takes on immense importance. We cannot concentrate for a long time; our senses tire quickly and we need, after moments of intense stimulation, periods of rest. Chagall understands this visual secret better than most painters; he draws our interest into a corner where minute details hold it, and when we tire of that, we rest, floating in a space of color, until the eye lands on a new small island of quivering life" (Alexander Liberman, "The Artist in His Studio" in Jacob Baal-Teshuva, ed., Chagall: A Retrospective, New York, 1995, p. 337).
The centrality and abundance of the brightly blossoming flowers in Les Amoureux aux trois bouquets evoke a sense of abundance and plenty. At the time of this work’s creation Chagall was living in the hilltop town of Saint-Paul-de-Vence, a small town on the French Riviera that became a thriving artistic center after World War II. Chagall described his life in Vence as “a bouquet of roses” (quoted in Sidney Alexander, Marc Chagall: A Biography, New York, 1978, p. 492). The duality between lovers and flowers took on a central role in his work around 1924, when Chagall discovered the beauty of the landscape in the Seine valley, which he explored with his friends Robert and Sonia Delaunay on the long walks they took together, not to mention the numerous flowers in the South of France he saw on his visit to the region that year. André Breton discussed the ephemeral nature of Chagall’s painting stating: “No work was ever so resolutely magical: its splendid prismatic colors sweep away and transfigure the torment of today and at the same time preserve the age old spirit of ingenuity in expressing everything which proclaims the pleasure principle: flowers an expression of love” (quoted in Jacob Baal-Teshuva, ibid., p. 153).
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