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PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, NEW YORK

Marc Chagall
L'HOMME ET L'IDOLE DE BOIS (FABLES DE LA FONTAINE)
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260

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, NEW YORK

Marc Chagall
L'HOMME ET L'IDOLE DE BOIS (FABLES DE LA FONTAINE)
前往

拍品詳情

印象派及現代藝術日拍

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Marc Chagall
1887 - 1985年
L'HOMME ET L'IDOLE DE BOIS (FABLES DE LA FONTAINE)
Signed Marc Chagall (lower right)
Gouache, brush and ink, crayon and pencil on paper
20 1/4 by 16 1/4 in.
51.4 by 41.2 cm
Executed circa 1927.
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The authenticity of this work has kindly been confirmed by the Comité Chagall.

來源

Sale: Palais Galliera, Paris, June 23, 1964, lot 54
Sale: The Trosby Galleries, Florida, March 6, 1968, lot 48 
Hammer Galleries, New York (acquired at the above sale)
Private Collection, Canada (acquired from the above in October 1968)
Thence by descent

展覽

Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, La Fontaine par Chagall, 1930, no. 47
Paris, Vendôme, Chagall, 1944-45, no. 1 

相關資料

In March 1926, Chagall embarked on a series of gouache illustrations for La Fontaine’s fables, a monumental commission of 120 works which earned him over 190,000 francs and resulted in one of his most acclaimed and poetic series. That Ambroise Vollard had chosen a Russian artist for the project did not go unremarked and critics went so far as to raise the question at the National Assembly, horrified that a foreigner should be tasked with the responsibility of interpreting such a hallowed text of the French classical canon. Vollard maintained that the task required an artistic sensibility that was “sound and delicate, realistic and fantastical," and his choice was later vindicated by the acclaimed exhibition of works from the series in 1930 which traveled from Paris to Brussels and Berlin (Ambroise Vollard, “De La Fontaine à Chagall,” in L'Intransigeant, January 1929, n.p.; see fig. 1).

L’Homme et l’idole de bois is a beautiful example of the fluid brushwork and bold palette that so impressed his contemporaries, the “fuming reds, opaque blacks, acidic greens, opulent yellows, luminous mauves” noted in L'Art vivant in 1927 by Jacques Guenne, a critic who also remarked on Chagall’s “fabulous invention and touching kindness of spirit” (Jacques Guenne, “Marc Chagall,” in L’Art vivant, December 1927, n.p.). In the same year, the art historian Maurice Raynal included Chagall in his book Modern French Painters, describing his “slightly romantic temperament” as “a blend of sadness and gaiety characteristic of a grave view of life” (Maurice Raynal, Modern French Painters, London, 1929, p. 57). Chagall had proved his artistic proficiency with the completion of his series of etchings for Gogol’s Dead Souls in 1925, but his emotional range may also have convinced Vollard that he was the right match for La Fontaine’s nuanced tales of moral quandary and folly. 

The fable of the wooden idol is a typically ambiguous exploration of human frailty. The pagan worshipper offers up burnt sacrifices to his deaf but “long-eared god” and showers him with gold, “Yet for such worship paid from day to day / He gained no favour, fortune, luck at play / Nay, worse, if but a capful of a storm / Gathered around, in any place or form / He had his portion of the common curse / The god still drew the pittance from his purse” (Jean de La Fontaine, The Fables of La Fontaine, London, 1884, p. 85). The pagan goes on to wreck the idol in frustration at the lack of returns, but in Chagall’s interpretation the man is a hopeful, diminutive figure who gains our sympathies rather than mockery. 

As he drafted designs for the fables, his wife Bella would often read them aloud and they would debate the endings. These were some of their happiest years together. The prestigious Galerie Bernheim-Jeune had taken Chagall on in 1926, allaying their financial concerns for the first time and allowing the couple to explore the countryside together. The vivid colors of the French Riviera are particularly evident in his La Fontaine’s gouaches. Chagall completed the corresponding series of etchings by 1930 but to his frustration they would remain unpublished until 1952. The complete set is arguably one of the most important print suites of the twentieth century.

印象派及現代藝術日拍

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