MARC CHAGALL (1887-1985)
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 SWISS COLLECTION
MARC CHAGALL (1887-1985)

La fenêtre ouverte

MARC CHAGALL (1887-1985)
La fenêtre ouverte
signed 'Chagall Marc' (lower right); signed, dated and inscribed 'Cela a été fait par moi en Auvergne, à Lac Chambon vers 1925 Marc Chagall Vence 1957' (on the reverse)
gouache, watercolour and pencil on paper laid down on card
24 7⁄8 x 19 in. (63.3 x 48.4 cm.)
Executed in Auvergne circa 1925
Galerie des Arts, Vence.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. H. Krayenbühl, Zurich, by 1957, and thence by descent to the present owners.
F. Meyer, Marc Chagall, Life and Work, London, 1964, no. 407, p. 752 (dated '1926'; illustrated).
J. Cassou, Chagall, London, 1965, p. 138 (dated '1926'; illustrated pl. 84).
Tokyo, National Museum of Western Art, Marc Chagall, October - November 1963, no. 136, p. 71 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Kyoto, Municipal Museum of Art, November - December 1963.
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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.
This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.
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

Executed in 1926, La fenêtre ouverte is one of the gouaches Chagall executed depicting rural subjects and farm scenes inspired by the countryside of  Chambon-sur-Lac.

In the months following his return to France in the fall of 1923, Chagall, his wife Bella and their young daughter Ida often spent weekends and holidays away from the capital, traveling around the countryside and visiting friends. "For him," as Lionello Venturi said, "even the French countryside in all its variety was an object of love" (quoted in F. Meyer, Marc Chagall: Life and Work, New York, 1963, p. 337). The artist preferred the quieter and more slowly-paced life in small rural towns to the cosmopolitan bustle of Paris.

During this time the artist also worked on the suite of etchings that Ambroise Vollard had commissioned for an edition of Gogol's Dead Souls, a novel set among the Russian peasantry, completing them in the fall of 1925. Vollard then proposed a new idea to Chagall, a series of illustrations for La Fontaine's Fables, stories with animal and human subjects, long a beloved classic of French literature.

To prepare for his work on the Fables, Chagall wanted to widen his knowledge of rural natural history, and he decided that he must thoroughly immerse himself in village life. Chagall and his family spent most of 1926 away from Paris. They stayed initially in Le Mourillon, a small fishing village near Toulon; here Chagall experienced for the first time the dazzling light and brilliant color of the Mediterranean. They visited Nice and the Riviera, to which Chagall would eventually return to live and work during the final decades of his life. They continued on to Chambon-sur-Lac in the Auvergne, where they spent the next several months and where La fenêtre ouverte was executed. They lived in a house on the village square facing a small church, and thereafter took rooms in the Hôtel de la Poste. Chagall painted mostly in gouache on full-size sheets of paper, depicting numerous views of the village, its church, the Hôtel de la Poste, and the surrounding countryside. "There are very few places outside Vitebsk," Franz Meyer has written, "where Chagall did so many landscape studies, which shows what a close affinity he felt for the rustic world he discovered there" (ibid., p. 349).

Chagall also painted numerous farm scenes in Chambon, concentrating on the mutual dependence between the villagers and their domestic animals. Through these observations of routine daily chores, Chagall eased into working on his gouaches for the Fables, creating thirty during his stay in Chambon. Meyer has written: "All these pictures show the same cursory, vigorous handling. The brushwork has become extremely forceful. The drawing is done with the brush which the artist uses to place accents in sharp rhythm, to dab thick flecks of paint next to each other on the sheet or scatter pigment over the whole surface. The vibrant medium renders both the urgent force of vegetation and the great, calm power of animality; it expresses the sensually felt, elementary presence of heaven and earth, of tree, flower, beast and man. Like a seismograph the brush senses the rhythm of the living being... What we see in the picture is animated matter, pulsating with forces tranquil or turbulent, and radiating the brightness of life" (ibid., pp. 349-350).

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