• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 12071

    Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

    13 May 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1287

    Marc Chagall (1887-1985)

    Le couple aux deux bouquets

    Price Realised  


    Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
    Le couple aux deux bouquets
    signed 'Marc Chagall' (lower right); signed again and dated 'Marc Chagall 1982' (on the reverse)
    oil on canvas
    39 ½ x 28 ¾ in. (100.3 x 73 cm.)
    Painted in 1982

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    The Comité Marc Chagall has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

    When Chagall painted the present work, he was one of the greatest living masters of the modern movement. Faithful to the inspiration which had fueled his art from the very beginning, Chagall painted with vigor and intensity throughout his life. The theme of embracing lovers surrounded by colorful bouquets of flowers is one which the artist had consistently explored since the 1920s. The present work is a glorious example of this recurrent motif. A couple floats in the center of the composition, flanked by two vibrant, exploding bouquets of flowers. On the right, a large vase overflowing with mimosas hovers over the roofs of a Russian village, the brilliant yellow buds echoed in the dress of the female figure. On the left, a pot of roses and chrysanthemums looms above the Seine and the Eiffel Tower. These two bouquets of flowers, symbols of love and beauty, and the lovers who personify them, are rendered with vivid yellow, pink, and orange, the colors made all the more dramatic through their contrast with the rich blue of the background. Through the thick, textural application of paint, Chagall explores the scene of seduction which plays out across the night sky as a pale yellow moon, a goat and a couple, schematically rendered, watch over the scene.
    Painted towards the end of his life, Le couple aux deux bouquets is ripe with nostalgia–for his city of birth, Vitebsk, and for his deceased, eternal bride, Bella and their time together in France. However, while the present work may be steeped in a deeply private personal mythology with its own specific iconography, it portrays an entrancing vision of a world of ecstatic dream, of sublimation and of romance. As Susan Compton has written, “When he was younger, Chagall disliked being told that his art was literary or even poetic, he wanted to suppress narration in favour of expression…through his paintings Chagall introduces human beings, who may be arranged in an illogical manner, but who are constant reminders that art is above all a celebration of humanity” (Chagall, exh. cat., Royal Academy of Art, London, 1985, p. 242).


    J.F. Gobbi Galerie d'Art, Neuchâtel.
    Acquired from the above by the present owner, circa 2000.