• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7701

    Impressionist/Modern Art, Evening Sale

    4 February 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 36

    Marc Chagall (1887-1985)

    Les mariés aux deux bouquets

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
    Les mariés aux deux bouquets
    signed 'Marc Chagall' (lower right); signed again 'Marc Chagall' (on the reverse)
    oil on canvas
    25½ x 19¾ in. (64.7 x 50 cm.)
    Painted circa 1980


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    The Comité Chagall has confirmed the authenticity of this painting.



    With its vivid colours and whimsical, poetic scene of lovers and flowers, Les mariés aux deux bouquets is the quintessential Marc Chagall painting. The theme of lovers was one that had recurred through his pictures, lending them a sense of romance that was itself informed by his own life, be it in terms of his love for his first wife Bella, whose death resulted in many works in which he projected their ultimate reunion in the afterlife, or for his second wife, Vava. For Chagall, love and beauty were powerful elements, forces that could only bring more harmony to a world that, during his lifetime, appeared in need of it. Explaining his dedication to this cause and his hope that, by devoting himself to it, he would be able to spread those feelings, he said, 'I thought that only love and uncalculating devotion towards others will lead to the greatest harmony in life and in art of which humanity has been dreaming so long. And this must, of course, be included in each utterance, in each brushstroke, and in each colour' (Chagall, quoted in Chagall: A Retrospective, ed. J. Baal-Teshuva, Westport, 1995, p. 208).

    Chagall's experiences in designing stained glass windows during the Post-War period appear to have informed the artist's deliberate exploration of the contrast between the twilight blue that suffuses so much of the surface and the incandescent bursts of yellow, red, pink and orange in the flowers, resulting in the intense vibrancy of this picture. At the same time, Chagall's world of romance is one that is tinted as much by his sense of fantasy and imagination as it is by his colourism. In Les mariés aux deux bouquets, the outscaled flowers, the fiddle-playing animal and the chicken hint at the artist combining elements from his own memories, dreams and desires, resulting in this lyrical vision. Chagall often tapped into narrative elements that were related to the unique personal mythology which he had developed over the years, taking as its foundations his own childhood in Vitebsk and adding to it his experiences in revolutionary Russia, in France and in the United States. In Les mariés aux deux bouquets, this results in the viewer being immersed into a mysterious, oneiric universe, one that is filled with Chagall's sense of romantic possibility, hope and optimism.

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