No. 10: Chagall
I am a huge fan of Marc Chagall.
I was lucky enough to see the Chagall exhibit at the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris at the end of summer, and it was stunning. I adore his vibrant palette and enthusiasm. Boy, could Chagall do color! As Picasso said, “When Matisse dies Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what color really is”. Je suis d’accord, brother.
Although Chagall was born in Belarus, the French considers him first a French artist, and then a Russian painter. While he did spend the majority of his life in France, much of his work reflects and was inspired by his memories and dreams of his homeland in Vitebsk. But, fortunately for all us admirers, many of his most famous works can still be found in France.
The expos. A remarkable thing about living in Paris and France is the exceptional access to great works of art. At this exhibit, I fell in love with his fiddlers dancing on the roofs and his ghostly figures gliding through his magical sky, the green and yellow dancers and whimsical forms, the purple roosters and blue violins, the stuff that dreams are made of…his hopes, longings, and losses—a delightful and thought-provoking display of some of his major works.
A night at the symphony. The Palais Garnier, Paris’ famous opera house, is also the home to his famous, fanciful ceiling. Although there was a whole heap of debate and some very disgruntled Frenchies when he was first commissioned to paint it in 1963, it has become a much beloved part of any evening at the opera or ballet.
The windows. You may not know that a set of Chagall stain glassed windows is housed in Reims at the gothic Notre-Dame Cathedral. I was oh so pleasantly surprised to find them when touring Champagne country. Someday soon I hope to make it to Metz to visit Saint-Etienne Cathedral to see, as one French friend has told me the most “flamboyant” of all of Chagall’s windows.
The sets and costumes. On top of that, I just learned from my lovely daughter and dancer, Kitcat, that Chagall also designed and hand-painted the madly imaginative costumes and sets for the1942 production of Aleko, for the New York Ballet Theatre and did the same for New York’s Metropolitan Opera’s production of the Magic Flute, later in the 1960s. (Do I have to go to New York to see them? Does anyone know where they are housed?)
Most definitely on my radar this fall, is a trip to the Carrières de Lumières, via Marseilles, to see the “Monet, Renoir… Chagall: Journeys around the Mediterranean” expo…and, of course Nice is my Mecca. Someday I hope I’ll visit the Musée National Marc Chagall.
Je suis d’accord: I agree