The subject of colourful bouquets of flowers fascinated Chagall from the late 1920s, and was endlessly explored throughout his career. The artist was first struck by the charm of flowers in Toulon 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, Marc Chagall. Life and Work
, New York, 1961, p. 369).
In Le Bouquet jaune Chagall focuses on the vibrant colour of the petals of the bouquet in the lower right, whilst a couple float in the background at upper left. Love and marriage were an important part of the artist’s life, and these romantic themes were a recurring theme in his painting. In 1952, Chagall married his second wife, Valentina (Vava) Brodsky. Although she came from a similar Russian Jewish background as himself, for Chagall Vava was always associated with France, where the two met, and where they lived together until the end of the artist’s life. These highly personal and romantic symbols are harmoniously and joyously combined in the present composition.