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

Fleurs et fruits rouges aux amoureux dans le ciel

Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
Fleurs et fruits rouges aux amoureux dans le ciel
stamped with signature 'Marc Chagall' (lower left)
oil, tempera and India ink on canvas
28¾ x 21¼ in. (73 x 54.1 cm.)
Painted in 1975
Estate of the artist.
Ryoko Art Corporation, Kyoto.
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2007.
Taipei, National Palace Museum and Taichung, The National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Celebration by Marc Chagall, February-August 2011, p. 138, no. 3-8 (illustrated in color, p. 139; titled Les fleurs et l'animal and dated 1978).

Lot Essay

The Comité Marc Chagall has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Painting the present work in the mid 1970s Chagall was one of the greatest living masters of the modern movement. Faithful to the inspiration which had fired his art from the very beginning Chagall continued to paint with the same vigor and intensity that he had shown all through his life. Old age never makes its appearance in Chagall's paintings after his early period. And given its rapturously romantic subject and the brilliant freshness of his motifs and colors, one might easily mistake Fleurs et fruits rouges for the work of a much younger man. It is indeed a work of youthful aspect by an old master, all the more remarkable at this late date.

The scene here is a nocturnal view of the old walled hilltop town of Saint-Paul-de-Vence, the 14th century Tour de la Fondule rising above its ramparts, which Chagall could see, due south, from the studio window in his home 'Les Collines', which lay across the valley in the commune of Vence. The medieval spirit of old Provence lay everywhere around Chagall, and in deeper layers beneath that, the classical civilization of the ancient colony which the Romans called the Province. Chagall appears have lifted the image of these young lovers straight from the courtly traditions of the 12th century troubadors and their noble ladies, whose music of longing and impassioned poetry, among the first cast not in venerable church Latin but in the local vernacular, their langue d'oc, reveled in the refined sentiments they elicited from the newly born conception of romantic love, embodied here in the flaming reds of the burgeoning bouquet, the woven basket of ripening fruit, and the bunch of flowers the young man holds to his beloved's breast.

These amoureux, who have magically materialized in the ethereal light of a full moon, are--as we have learned we must always imagine them to be--Chagall himself and his beloved first wife Bella, who died in 1944, but who remained his eternal bride and forever the light of his life.

Much of Chagall's enduring immersion in Bella's memory was any man's nostalgia for the great love of his youth. Chagall was fortunate enough to have married his first true love, and he cultivated ever after these beautiful memories like a patient and ever mindful gardener. For Chagall in his advanced age, as was also the case with Picasso, memory became the key to creativity; the desire to revisit and relive all the stages of a long and passionate life imparts a poignant dimension to the work of this artist's old age, in pictures that betoken a wisdom beyond words.

More from Impressionist & Modern Evening Sale

View All
View All