MARC CHAGALL (1887-1985)
MARC CHAGALL (1887-1985)
MARC CHAGALL (1887-1985)
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PROPERTY FROM A PRESTIGIOUS PRIVATE COLLECTION
MARC CHAGALL (1887-1985)

Le Peintre

Details
MARC CHAGALL (1887-1985)
Le Peintre
signed ‘Marc Chagall’ (lower right); signed again 'Marc Chagall' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
25 5⁄8 x 21 in. (64.9 x 54.2 cm.)
Painted in 1976
Provenance
Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York (acquired from the artist).
Anon. sale, Christie's, New York, 15 May 1990, lot 81.
Acquired at the above sale by the family of the present owners.
Exhibited
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Pavillon de Flore, Marc Chagall: Peintures récentes, 1967-1977, October 1977-January 1978, no. 60 (illustrated).
Tokyo, Fuji Television Gallery, Marc Chagall, Recent Works: Oil, Acrylic, Tempera, Tapestry, Prints, March 1979, no. 5 (illustrated).
New York, Pierre Matisse Gallery, Marc Chagall: Paintings and Temperas, 1975-1978, May 1979, no. 8 (illustrated in color).
Post lot text
The Comité Marc Chagall has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

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Lot Essay

As early as 1907, Chagall painted his first self-portrait at the age of twenty. By 1909, he had already adopted the pose of a painter, clearly conscious of his skills. Chagall pursued this type of self-representation throughout his career, of which the present painting is a late example, dating from 1976. In Le Peintre, the artist places himself at the center of the composition while the whimsical elements of the Chagallian iconography revolve around him. A rooster, a pair of lovers, a green donkey and the Eiffel Tower not only have a structural role within the painting, but they are more importantly the inspirational sources of Chagall's creativity. Themes of love, animals and flowers recur throughout Chagall's works and in the present work, they are represented as Chagall's faithful artistic companions.
The bright blocks of color display in all their glory Chagall's mastery of color. The dominant blue, red, yellow and green jewel-like surfaces in the painting mirror Chagall's work in other media at the time, mainly stained glass windows and mosaics, such as the windows he did for the Metz Cathedral in 1968, those for the Fraumunster Kirche in Zurich, or the ensemble executed for the Musée national message biblique in Nice in 1972. In Le Peintre, Chagall celebrates the role of color in his oeuvre, yet he also portrays himself as a creator.
Despite Chagall's habit of including hybrid half-man half-animal creatures, he nonetheless chooses here to clearly separate the animal world with that of the human, or rather the artist's. Chagall states his role as a creator of nature, as a counterpart to the animal world which live in the lower half of the composition. In many of Chagall's self-portraits as a painter holding his palette in front of an easel, the crucified Christ is present in the scene, yet in this composition from 1976, he omits the Christ figure, as he focuses on his own role as creator of masterpieces and procreator of his extraordinary dreamy world. At the same time, Chagall pays homage to the swirling characters, who are at the root of his unique artistic conception and of his success as an artist.

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