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    Sale 2045

    Impressionist/Modern Evening Sale

    6 November 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 85

    Marc Chagall (1887-1985)

    Les amoureux (Couple blanc au bouquet)

    Price Realised  


    Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
    Les amoureux (Couple blanc au bouquet)
    signed and dated 'Marc Chagall 1949' (lower left)
    gouache and watercolor on paper
    31 x 22½ in. (78.7 x 57.1 cm.)
    Painted in 1949

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    The imagery Chagall employs in the present work is well-known from other great works in his oeuvre, from which he conjured the bouquet of flowers, the crescent moon, the village and the focal point of the composition, the lovers. The heavenly, dreamlike feeling exuded by the work is underscored by the rich blue tonality Chagall favored during this period. "The eternal, transcendental blue reveals man's eternal longing for peace, security, eternity. It proceeds to the metaphysical realm where faith endows images with redeeming power" (R. Doschka, Marc Chagall zum 11. Geburtstag, exh. cat., Stadthalle, Balinger, 1986, p. 40). The magical aspect of the work is a unifying characteristic throughout Chagall's oeuvre: "our debt to Chagall is to an artist who has brought poetry back into painting through subject matter, without any sacrifice of his painter's interest in the picture for itself, and entirely aside from any communication that can be put into words" (J. J. Sweeney, Chagall, New York, 1947, p. 71).

    The subject of the present work draws on imagery Chagall used during the period in which he returned to his native Russia, 1914-1922, and is particularly reminiscent of his Au-dessus de la Ville, painted in 1917-18 as a tribute to the love the artist shared with his first wife, Bella Rosenfeld. Indeed, in her memoirs Bella recalls her feelings towards Chagall's representation of their relationship: "together we rise and fly away. We reach the window and want to pass through. Through the window, clouds and blue sky beckon us. Fields of flowers, houses, roofs, churches swim beneath us." (Bella Chagall, Di ershte bagegenish, New York, 1947; trans. Ida Chagall, Lumières Allumnées, Paris, 1973, pp. 258-9).


    Galerie Maeght, Paris.
    Private collection (acquired from the above).
    By descent from the above to the present owner.