‘When I bent over a lithographic stone or a copper plate, it was as if I were touching a talisman. It seemed to me that I could hide in it all my sorrows and all my joys... Everything that has happened in the course of my life: births, deaths, marriages, flowers, animals and birds, the suffering of workers, parents, lovers at night, the biblical prophets, in the street, in the house, in the temple and in heaven. And with increasing age, the tragedy of life in and around us.’
Celebrating Marc Chagall’s life-long love of printmaking, Marc Chagall, Colour of Life: Prints and Artist’s Books Formerly From the Artist’s Estate features prints made over a period of sixty years, offered on the market for the first time, in remarkably fine condition.
Reflecting the artist’s exuberant palette and joyful subject matter, the sale includes many lithographs made at the legendary Parisian printshop Imprimerie Mourlot on rue de Chabrol, as well as several rare proofs extensively hand-coloured in gouache or pastel. Among the highlights are L’Auge, a charming depiction of peasant life made shortly after the artist’s move to Paris in 1924, and Le Magicien de Paris which was used as the motif for the poster of Chagall’s exhibition at the Grand Palais in 1969-70.
The sale also reflects Chagall’s profound interest in literature, with copies of all three publications originally commissioned by Ambroise Vollard, later published by Tériade, for which Chagall produced original prints as illustrations: Les Ames Mortes by Nikolai Gogol, 1923-27, Les Fables de la Fontaine, 1927-30, and La Bible, 1931-1956. Other artist’s books include the vellum bound copy of Psaumes de David, 1979; and Chagall’s epic cycle of lithographs in two volumes for Homer’s L’Odyssée, 1975.
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