MARC CHAGALL (1887-1985)
MARC CHAGALL (1887-1985)
MARC CHAGALL (1887-1985)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION
MARC CHAGALL (1887-1985)

Le mendiant (Le nettoyage rituel)

MARC CHAGALL (1887-1985)
Le mendiant (Le nettoyage rituel)
signed 'Chagall' and inscribed in Hebrew (lower right)
oil and gouache on paper laid down on canvas
19 ¼ x 14 3/8 in. (49 x 36.7 cm.)
Painted in 1914
Olof & Siri Aschberg, Paris.
Confiscated from the above, following the occupation of France, 1940-1941.
Transferred by the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg to the Jeu de Paume as part of the Möbel-Aktion (ERR no. MA-B 889-b), in May 1943.
Returned to the Möbel-Aktion for sale.
Galerie Charpentier, Paris, by June 1950.
Galerie Katia Granoff, Paris, by whom acquired from the above.
Private collection, Brussels, by whom acquired from the above, in 1953, and thence by descent.

Please note that the present work was subject to a settlement agreement between the current owner and the heirs of Siri Aschberg in 2018. This resolved the dispute over ownership of the work and title will pass to the successful bidder. 

F. Meyer, Marc Chagall, Life and Work, London, 1964, no. 197, p. 749 (illustrated p. 637; with incorrect medium).
Paris, Galerie Beaux-Arts, Peintres Instinctifs, Naissance de l'expressionnisme, December 1935 - January 1936, no. 12, n.p. (titled 'Vieux Juif').
Tournai, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Maîtres de l'Art Contemporain, September - October 1956, no. 11, p. 7 (titled 'Le Rabbin').
Charleroi, Cercle Royal Artistique et Littéraire de Charleroi, XXXIme Salon, March - April 1957, n.p. (dated '1909').
Ghent, Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Figuratie-Defiguratie, De Menselijke figuur sedert Picasso, July - October 1964, no. 56, p. LIX (dated '1912-1914').
Mechelen, Cultureel Centrum Burgemeester A. Spinoy, De menselijke figuur in de kunst 1910-1960, September - November 1971, no. 11, n.p. (illustrated n.p.; titled 'Rabbijn (Rituele Reiniging)' and dated '1912-1914').
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
Post lot text
The Comité Marc Chagall has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

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Micol Flocchini
Micol Flocchini Head of Works on Paper Sale

Lot Essay

'It's only my town, mine, which I have rediscovered.
I come back to it with emotion.
It was at this time that I painted my Witebsk series of 1914. I painted everything that met my eyes. I painted at my window, I never walked down the street without my box of paints' (Chagall, Marc Chagall, My Life, London, 1957, p. 118).

Le mendiant (Le nettoyage rituel) was painted in 1914, at the time when Marc Chagall had returned from Paris to his hometown, Vitebsk, in Russia. Having intended to visit Russia only briefly, the outbreak of war would prevent Chagall from returning to Paris until 1923. While living in Vitebsk, Chagall immersed himself in the enchanting familiarity of his surroundings, creating a number of works that depict the inhabitants and scenery of his native town; his family, street sweepers, beggars and Jewish rabbis, all became the artist's subjects.

Dressed in long, dark clothes, the beggar fills the length of the canvas of Le mendiant (Le nettoyage rituel), a prominent physical presence within the rustic interior setting. The earthy colours of the scene radiate a sense of warmth and intimacy, evoking Chagall's inherent empathy and ardent feeling for the man he has depicted. Chagall stated about one of the beggars he encountered, 'Sometimes a man posed for me who had a face so tragic and old, but at the same time angelic' (M. Chagall quoted in J. Wullschlager, Chagall Love and Exile, London, 2008, p. 187). Chagall called works such as Le mendiant (Le nettoyage rituel), 'documents' (F. Meyer, Marc Chagall, New York, 1963, p. 217), of his time in Vitebsk, due to the sense of naturalism that they convey. In contrast to many of the dreamlike, fantastical and experimental images that Chagall had created while in Paris, Le mendiant (Le nettoyage rituel) is rooted in a sense of reality and observation. Vitebsk was no longer a nostalgic memory, as it had been while the artist was in Paris, but had become a vivid reality, which Chagall has transposed into his painting.

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