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

Le cheval vert

Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
Le cheval vert
signed and dated 'Marc Chagall 1956' (lower right); signed again 'Chagall' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
37 3/8 x 29½ in. (94.7 x 74.9 cm.)
Painted in 1956
The artist's estate.
Private collection, France, by whom acquired from the above; sale, Sotheby's, New York, 6 November 2002, lot 323.
Private collection, France, by whom acquired at the above sale.
Private collection, The Netherlands, by whom acquired from the above in 2006.
F. Meyer, Marc Chagall, New York, 1963, no. 948, p. 762 (illustrated).
Basel, Kunsthalle, Marc Chagall, Werke aus den letzten 25 Jahren, August - October 1956, no. 61; this exhibition later travelled to Bern, Kunsthalle, October - November 1956, no. 44; Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, December 1956 - January 1957, no. 147; Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, January - February 1957.
Paris, Galerie Maeght, Chagall 1955-1957, July - August 1957, no. 5.
Hamburg, Kunstverein, Marc Chagall, February - March 1959, no. 165 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Munich, Haus der Kunst, April - May; Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, June - October, no. 173, p. 426.
Tokyo, Musée National d'Art Occidental, Marc Chagall, October - November 1963.

Brought to you by

Giovanna Bertazzoni
Giovanna Bertazzoni

Lot Essay

The Comité Chagall has confirmed the authenticity of this painting.

Chagall had from the outset established himself as a colourist, but it was not until the latter part of his life that colour achieved its full radiance in his work, brought about in no small part by his moving to Vence in the South of France on his return to Europe in 1949; 'Chagall's new sojourn in the south exerted a decisive influence on his art. The light, the vegetation, the rhythm of life all contributed to the rise of a more relaxed, airy, sensuous style in which the magic of colour dominates more and more with the passing of the years' (F. Meyer, op cit., p. 519). Chagall had also travelled with Vava to Greece in 1952, prompted by Tériade's commissioning a series of lithographs on the subject of Daphnis and Chloé. Greece had a profound effect on Chagall and he returned for an extended stay two years later. Colour in Chagall's work was beginning to become a compositional element in its own right, defining the motif as much as describing it. 'Sometimes flowers are the source of light that illuminates the entire picture, as the sunflowers with the warm, radiant yellow in the cool gray of the work to which they give their name (Meyer no. 920) and the round bouquet with its intense colour in the dark red of Vava's portrait (Meyer no. 949). This illumination by flowers is really the theme of Green Horse of 1956. Here the young man is virtually a bowl for the bright orange-red bouquet in the center of the cloudy white area it irradiates, and from which only the blue and green of the other figures emerge' (op. cit., p. 552).


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