In Nu au cyclamen, Gstaad
Chagall revisits the theme of romance, depicting a beautiful interior with lovers humbled in the presence of their passion for each other. During the early 1970s, Chagall was based in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, which became his permanent home until his death. Gstaad, a town in the Swiss Alps, served as a picturesque escape from the bustle of an urban ambience. The snow-covered Alps appear in the window of Nu au cyclamen, Gstaad
, offset by the pot of white flowers near the lower right corner.
André Verdet writes of Chagall’s relationship to flowers: “Marc Chagall loved flowers. He delighted in their aroma, in contemplating their colours... There were always flowers in his studio. In his work bouquets of flowers held a special place... Usually they created a sense of joy, but they could also reflect the melancholy of memories” (quoted in Jacob Baal-Teshuva, ed., Chagall: A Retrospective
, Fairfield, 1995, p. 347).
Romance is a recurring theme within Chagall’s oeuvre and is often a reference to Chagall’s first wife, Bella. Although Bella unexpectedly passed away in 1944, she continued serve as Chagall’s primary muse. When Chagall married Bella, he was met with hesitancy from Bella’s family who preferred that she marry someone with more stable income. Their relationship was special as it represents the true expression of love—the willingness to cross societal norms for lifelong affection. The passion between the lovers depicted in Nu au cyclamen, Gstaad is representative of that special love—one which followed him wherever he traveled (see fig. 1).