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

Bouquet dans la campagne

Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
Bouquet dans la campagne
signed 'Marc Chagall' (lower right)
oil and gouache on paper laid down on canvas
24¼ x 18¾ in. (61.5 x 47.5 cm.)
Painted circa 1959-1969
Galerie Maeght, Paris.
Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris.
Anonymous sale, Sotheby Parke Barnet Inc., New York, 1 November 1978, lot 74.
Galería Acquavella, Caracas.
Anonymous sale, Christie's, New York, 15 November 1988, lot 62 ($ 770,000).
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Special notice
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium
Sale room notice
Please note that the dimensions of this work are 18¾ x 24¼ in. (47.5 x 61.5 cm.) and not as stated in the catalogue.

Lot Essay

The Comité Chagall has confirmed the authenticity of this painting.

The 1960s was a period of great artistic creativity and productivity for Chagall. He had only recently diversified into a variety of different media, including sculpture, ceramics, mosaic, tapestries, murals and, of course, stained glass, an art form that was to occupy him for much of the 1960s and 1970s. Since the unveiling of his Jerusalem Windows in Paris in 1961, Chagall had been hailed as the most influential designer of stained-glass windows of the twentieth century and he received many large-scale public commissions for architectural decorations both in Europe and America. Working in stained glass was, for Chagall, like painting in light; 'the light is the light of the sky, it is that light that gives the colour!' (Chagall, quoted in C. Sorlier (ed.), Chagall by Chagall, New York, 1979, p. 212). It was in the 1960s, using the lessons he had learned while working in glass, that colour became an essential element in Chagall's work in its own right, achieving its full radiance and plenitude in his paintings of this time.

First explored by Chagall in the early 1920s as a romantic extension to the symbolic vocabulary of the paintings depicting himself with his beloved wife Bella, the vase of flowers became a perennial theme in Chagall's art. The explosion of colour that so often characterises his bouquets allows Chagall to manipulate dramatic contrasts and subtle harmonies with aplomb, particularly when, as in the present work, he sets his flowers against a striking background of deep blue, so typical of the richness of his palette. Also emerging from this intense background are some other familiar elements of Chagall's aesthetic dream-like repertory; the family group at the lower left, the goat and the village at the right, bathed in moonlight.

'It was in Toulon in 1924, Chagall recalls, that the charm of French flowers first struck him. He claims he had not known bouquets of flowers in Russia - or at least they were not so common as in France... He said that when he painted a bouquet it was as if he was painting a landscape. It represented France to him. But the discovery was also a logical one in the light of the change taking place in his vision and pictorial interests. Flowers, especially mixed bouquets of tiny blossoms, offer a variety of delicate colour combinations and a fund of texture contrasts which were beginning to hold Chagall's attention more and more' (J.J. Sweeney, Marc Chagall, New York, 1946, p. 56).

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