This work is sold with a photo-certificate from the Comité Chagall.
Chagall treated the theme of young lovers – the affianced pair, the bride and groom, or the newlywed couple, who have abandoned themselves to love and to each other – more frequently than any other subject. There are many variants on this theme, and as befitting the mysteries of human emotion, and so characteristic of Chagall’s marvellously inventive, dream-like pictorial universe, there is rarely a straightforward or clearly logical narrative behind these paintings. In Mariés sous le baldaquin dans le ciel du village, the radiant young couple hovers weightlessly off the ground, high above a golden sun and a diminutive blue village; yet they are anchored beneath a scarlet-coloured chuppah, the ceremonial canopy that symbolizes in Jewish nuptials the home that the newlyweds will build together. They are simultaneously part of this world and beyond it, their love an ideal union of the sensual and the spiritual, of human yearning and divine mystery. “Their joy has levitated from the ground,” Susan Compton has written. “Their faces are real enough, but now their position is imaginary. By this device Chagall has conveyed the magic carpet of human love, borrowed perhaps from the world of the folk tale, where hero and heroine live happily ever after” (Chagall, exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1985, pp. 15-16).
The great love of Chagall’s own life was his first wife Bella Rosenfeld, like himself a native of Vitebsk in Belarus, whom he wed in 1915; it was a devastating blow to the artist when Bella died unexpectedly in 1944. He married again in 1952, this time to Valentine (“Vava”) Brodsky, after a courtship that lasted only a few months. Yet the daily domestic intimacy that he enjoyed with Vava at Saint-Paul-de-Vence for the final three decades of his life could never eclipse the mythic eternal moment that he had created around the memory of Bella, or diminish the enduring intensity of his feelings for his lost love, which had become the central vault in the great storehouse of his imagination. “Out of this domestic Eden, lived and remembered, poured an endless series of painted epithalamia,” Sidney Alexander has written. “Bella as goddess, Bella as Venus, Bella as Bathsheba...Bella as a white whish of rocket soaring toward the moon. Even after her death, whenever he painted a bride it was Bella” (Marc Chagall, A Biography, New York, 1978, p. 82).