The Comité Marc Chagall has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
Ecuyère à l’éventail sur le coq verte is a celebration of Marc Chagall’s mysterious and magical universe, one filled with child-like charm and optimism. As in many of Chagall’s most emblematic works, the central characters here are whimsically and beautifully paired, inspired, no doubt, by cherished childhood memories of Russian folktales where animals and humans interacted as equals.
Drawing on these traditional fables, the rooster in the present lot takes on decidedly anthropomorphic qualities - adopting, for example, a strong upright stance and a lively, cheeky smile. Even Chagall’s disregard for scale may be traced back to childhood memories of the artist’s youth in Vitebsk, where at his uncle’s farm, all the animals had names, and regardless of breed or size, were regarded as equal members of the family.
Yet for all the characteristic naïveté of the subject, Chagall’s approach here is exceptionally refined. Informed by the lessons of the French avant-garde he absorbed during his early years in Paris, Ecuyère à l’éventail sur le coq vert combines a bold, Fauve palette with a deliberately flat and ambiguous organisation of space.
Replacing the dark, muddy tones of his early oeuvre with brighter, more adventurous hues, the figures in the present lot are painted in rich, jewel-like greens and reds. As in Musicien of 1928-1929, Chagall abandons perspective in favour of feeling, which, together with the strong, gestural brushwork particularly evident in the woman’s dress, succeed in creating a highly energised and personal aesthetic.
By the mid-1930s when the present lot was created, Chagall was fully aware of the troubling events which were unfolding in Europe. Though the War Years witnessed an understandable darkening of the artist’s subject matter, ever the optimist, Chagall strove to create a deeply joyful and whimsical body of work. Thus, harkening back to the blissful memories of his childhood, works such as Ecuyère à l’éventail sur le coq vert succeeded in bringing beauty and charm back into the world.