Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
Marc Chagall (1887-1985)

La Piste du Cirque

Details
Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
La Piste du Cirque
signed 'Marc Chagall' (lower right); signed and titled 'Marc Chagall la piste du cirque' (on the reverse)
oil on panel
32 3/4 x 19 1/2in. (83.3 x 49.7cm.)
Painted circa 1967

Lot Essay

Sold with a photo-certificate from the Comité Marc Chagall dated Paris, le 14 Février 1997.

"For me a circus is a magic show which appears and disappears like a world. A circus is disturbing, it is profound.... It is a magic world, circus is a timeless game where tears and smiles, the play of the arms and legs take the form of great art. But what do most of these circus people earn? A piece of bread. Night brings them solitude, sadness. Until the next day when the evening flooded with electric lights announces a new old-life. The circus seems to me like the most tragic show on earth. Through the centuries, it has been the most poignant cry in man's search for amusement and joy, it often takes the form of high poetry. I seem to see a Don Quixote in search of an ideal, like that inspired clown who wept and dreamed of human love....I would like to go up to that bareback rider who has just reappeared, smiling: her dress, a bouquet of flowers. I would circle her with my flowered and unflowered years. On my knees I would tell her wishes and dreams, not of this world. I would run after her horse and ask her how to live, how to escape from myself, from the world, whom to run to, where to go. I have always thought of clowns, acrobats and actors as tragically human beings who, for me, are like characters in certain religious paintings. Even today, when I paint a crucifixion or some other religious scene, I experience almost the same emotions I used to feel painting circus people. And yet, there is nothing literary in these paintings, and it is very hard to explain why I find a psycho-plastic resemblance between the two kinds of work." (M. Chagall quoted in; Exh. cat., Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Chagall: A Retrospective, 1995, pp. 196-198)

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