The Comité Marc Chagall has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
With its virtual explosion of brightly-hued blossoms emanating from an impossibly small vase, Vase de fleurs presents a traditional still-life subject injected with emotion and nostalgia. The theme of flowers in a vase was one to which Chagall returned time and again throughout his career, though his pursuit of the subject became particularly fervent in the mid-1920s. Following a four-year residence in Paris from 1910 to 1914, Chagall spent the troubled years of the First World War in his native Russia and returned to work in France in 1923 with a renewed sense of wonder at the country's natural beauty.
As James Johnson Sweeney has noted, "It was in Toulon in 1924, Chagall recalls, that the charm of French flowers first struck him. He claims that he had not known bouquets of flowers in Russia...He said that when he painted a bouquet it was as if he was painting a landscape. It represented France to him. But the discovery was also a logical one in the light of the change taking place in his vision and pictorial interests. Flowers, especially mixed bouquets of tiny blossoms, offer a variety of delicate color combinations and a fund of texture contrasts which were beginning to hold Chagall's attention more and more" (Marc Chagall, New York, 1946, p. 56).
Throughout his career, Chagall turned to the subject of the still-life and the depiction of flowers in particular as an expression of romance. During his marriage to Bella Rosenfeld from 1915 until her death in 1944, the artist executed countless works in this genre to express his exuberance over the blissful state of their union. In the years following the passing of his beloved muse and throughout his second marriage to Valentina "Vava" Brodsky beginning in 1952, this genre continued to provide the means for the painter to express sentiments of contentment as well as reflect upon the ephemeral nature of life. The canvases and works on paper were nearly always marked by a wild proliferation of vivid blooms springing from an underlying basket or vase. Chagall took pleasure throughout his career in rendering the wide variety of flowers and plants available to him surrounding his home in Provence, where he lived with Vava from the time of their marriage.