• Press release
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  • New York
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  • For immediate release
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  • 20 March 2018

RELEASE: Highlighting the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale is Marc Chagall's La Tour Eiffel


Marc Chagall, La Tour Eiffel, 1929. $6-9 million

Property from the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Sold to Benefit the Acquisitions Fund

New York – On May 15, Christie’s will offer Marc Chagall’s La Tour Eiffel (estimate: $6-9 million) as a highlight of its Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in New York. The luminous canvas is Property from the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Sold to Benefit the Acquisitions Fund

Cyanne Chutkow, Deputy Chairman, Impressionist and Modern Art, Christie’s, remarked: We are honored the National Gallery of Canada has entrusted the sale of their Marc Chagall La Tour Eiffel to Christie’s. It is a rare opportunity to handle such a masterful 1920s painting by the artist of this scale. Acquired by the Museum in 1956 from Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York, it’s dynamic coloration and exquisite detail, make La Tour Eiffel truly exceptional. This painting is being offered for sale at an ideal time in the market, when singular examples by Chagall are more in demand than ever.”

Filled with an air of sensuous, passionate romance, La Tour Eiffel encapsulates the wonderfully poetic style that emerged in Marc Chagall’s oeuvre during the 1920s and 1930s. It was during this period that he experienced a period of unprecedented happiness, stability, comfort and professional success amidst the bustle and energy of Paris. Bursting with rich color and the artist’s unique symbolic vocabulary, this beautifully composed painting includes many of Chagall’s favorite themes, from love and memory, to music and fantasy, combining unexpected elements to create a mysterious, otherworldly scene.

Its dreamlike atmosphere offers a glimpse into not only the rich depths of the artist’s imagination, but also the close family bond that Chagall shared with his wife Bella and their young daughter Ida. The three principal characters in the composition may be read as symbolic portraits of the trio, Chagall as the rooster, Bella the reclining nude, and Ida the angel who graces their life with such joy. In this way, the scene becomes a celebration not only of the artist’s creative vision, but also the happiness that the Chagalls found in their new life in Paris, following the years of upheaval and tumult they had suffered through for more than a decade.

At its heart, La Tour Eiffel is a romantic ode to Chagall’s beloved wife Bella, whose enigmatic personality and unparalleled beauty enthralled the artist throughout his life, and drove him to reach new painterly heights in an effort to capture the true essence of her spirit. In La Tour Eiffel, her reclining pose echoes numerous art historical depictions of the female nude, from Titian to Manet, Goya to Modigliani, revealing the soft sinuous lines of her body as she stretches elegantly across the couch. Modelling her form with delicate touches of pink, green and blue, Chagall captures not only the beauty of his wife, but also the serenity and poise he so admired in her. Setting her in the immediate foreground of the composition, he identifies her as the symbolic heart of his life in Paris, the source of all the joy and bliss he enjoyed there.

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*Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price - see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.