MARC CHAGALL (1887-1985)
Marc Chagall (1887-1985)

Les lys magiques

Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
Les lys magiques
signed 'Marc Chagall' (lower right); signed and dated '948 49 Marc Chagall' (on the stretcher)
oil on canvas
28 x 19 7/8 in. (71.2 x 50.5 cm.)
Painted in 1948-1949
Galerie Maeght, Paris.
Galerie Europe, Brussels, by 1955.
Private collection, Brussels, by whom acquired in 1955 and thence by descent to the present owner.
Knokke-Le Zoute, Casino Communal, XIVe Festival belge d'été, Hommage à Marc Chagall: exposition rétrospective, July - September 1961, no. 93 (titled 'Le bouquet aux amoureux').

Brought to you by

Giovanna Bertazzoni
Giovanna Bertazzoni

Lot Essay

The Comité Chagall has confirmed the authenticity of this painting.

Les lys magiques combines two distinct elements in Chagall's personal iconography that came to encapsulate his idea of romantic love: the dream-like flying couple and the rich bouquet of flowers. Both themes had occupied Chagall throughout his career, and the latter swiftly became an extension to the symbolic vocabulary of the paintings depicting himself with his beloved wife Bella. Les lys magiques is a pictorial representation of Chagall's belief in the idea of Love, which for him was both motivation and motif. As he explained in 1958: 'In it lies the true Art: from it comes my technique, my religion... All other things are a sheer waste of energy, waste of means, waste of life, of time... Art, without Love - whether we are ashamed or not to use that well-known word - such a plastic art would open the wrong door' (Chagall, quoted in J. Baal-Teshuva, ed., Chagall: A Retrospective, Westport, 1995, p. 179).

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. Here the blooms are presented as effervescent bursts of intense colour, perfectly demonstrating why Pablo Picasso stated of Chagall, 'Some of the last things he's done in Vence convince me that there's never been anybody since Renoir who has the feeling for light that Chagall has' (Picasso, quoted in F. Gilot & C. Lake, Life with Picasso, New York, Toronto & London, 1964, p. 282). In Les lys magiques this is visible both in the play between the bright colours of the flowers, heightened by the contrast with the background, and also the resonant luminosity of the rippling blue of the night time landscape.

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