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    Sale 11793

    Impressionist & Modern Art Works on Paper

    23 June 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 133

    Marc Chagall (1887-1985)

    La famille au coq bleu

    Price Realised  


    Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
    La famille au coq bleu
    signed 'Marc Chagall' (lower right)
    gouache, brush and India ink and pastel on paper
    8 3/4 x 7 3/8 in. (22.3 x 18.9 cm.)
    Executed circa 1955

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    This work is sold with a photo-certificate from the Comité Chagall.

    Executed circa 1955, Famille au Coq bleu is one of Marc Chagall's hymns to memory, to romance and to love. At this time, the artist had entered a new period of stability in his life, with Valentina Brodsky, Vava as she was nicknamed, who was to become a vital companion for him during the post-war years. She provided a stable presence for Chagall, as well as a breath of nostalgia, recalling his home and youth.

    Although the blue tonality of Famille au Coq bleu is common of Chagall’s works of the 1950s, reflecting the influence of the artist’s Mediterranean surroundings in Vence, certain elements of the composition are closer to works of the 1920s - particularly the interior setting with the window beyond, the still life on the table, the clothing of the mother and father, and the blue rooster in the upper right. The rooster is a symbol that by the late 1920s had assumed a dominant position in Chagall's bestiary, replacing four-legged farm animals, such as the donkey or the goat. According to Franz Meyer: "As a symbol, the cock has an entirely different and far stranger nature than the quadrupeds, which, despite their four feet, are more closely related to man. For thousands of years it has played a part in religious rites as the embodiment of the forces of sun and fire. This symbolic meaning still lingers on in Chagall's work, where the cock represents elementary spiritual power" (F. Meyer, Marc Chagall, Life and Work, New York, 1963, pp. 380-381).

    An additional religious symbolism in Famille au Coq bleu is suggested by the artist’s use of yellow pastel to highlight the heads of the mother and child, positioned in the foreground of the composition to draw the eye. Daylight is streaming through the window, giving both the mother and child, particularly the child, a halo of light. They become the Madonna and Child, and the scene reminiscent of the icons of Chagall’s native Russia, the Hasidic traditions of family life in Vitebsk where he was raised, and the early years of his marriage to his first wife, Bella. As recalled by his wife Bella in her memoirs: "we both rise up above the room and begin to fly. We want to leave through the window. Outside the blue sky is calling us...We fly over fields of flowers, shuttered houses, the roofs, the yards, the churches spread out below us" (quoted in Lumières Allumnées, Paris, 1974, pp. 258-259).

    Special Notice

    Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
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    Badan Gallery, Geneva.
    Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, London, 29 November 1989, lot 506.
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.


    Bern, Kornfeld and Klipstein, Marc Chagall, April - May 1960, no. 16.