Acquired from Alice Tériade, widow of the above, by the present owner in 1995
Chagall initially set to work reinterpreting Longus’ story in 1952 at the suggestion of his dear friend, the famed publisher Tériade. A native of Lesbos, Tériade, born Stratis Eleftheriades, encouraged Chagall to visit Greece, where he sourced inspiration for the project firsthand. With his new wife Vava in tow, the artist explored the best of Athens, Poros, Delphi, Olympia and their environs. Enchanted by the colours of Greece’s ancient ruins and coastlines, he sketched endless landscapes in gouache and pastel.
Upon returning to Paris, Chagall spent three years painstakingly re-inventing his preparatory sketches as lithographs. With guidance and assistance from colourist Charles Sorlier, he gained command of the fluid, transparent medium of lithographic ink, sometimes employing as many as 25 different hues to achieve a desired composition. Remarkably vibrant and in pristine condition, the present Daphnis et Chloé set from the sought-after edition of 60 best displays this mastery of colour. Acquired directly from Tériade's family, this complete set is not only an aesthetic and technical masterpiece, but a rare relic of 20th century print history.
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