Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
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Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A NOTABLE PRIVATE COLLECTION
Marc Chagall (1887-1985)

Couple au bouquet

Details
Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
Couple au bouquet
signed 'Chagall' (lower right)
oil, tempera, watercolour, pastel, black crayon and pencil on masonite
24 x 19 ¾ in. (61 x 50.2 cm.)
Painted in 1981
Provenance
Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York.
Galerie Daniel Malingue, Paris.
Acquired from the above by the present owners, circa 1999.
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.
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.
Sale Room Notice
Please note the correct medium for this work is oil, tempera, watercolour, pastel, black crayon and pencil on Masonite, and not as stated in the printed gallery guide.

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Lot essay

The central characters in many of Chagall's paintings are lovers or newlyweds, people caught up in the early excitement of love, who have abandoned themselves to love, and have completely surrendered themselves unto each other. For Chagall and his first wife Bella, who were married in 1915 and lived together for almost three decades, this experience of love took a shared intensity that appeared to never falter or fade.

Chagall was devasted when Bella suffered an early and unnecessary death from a viral infection in 1944, while they were living in upstate New York during the Second World War. Penicillin could have saved her, but this new drug had been set aside solely for military use. Chagall's adoration for Bella grew even greater following her passing, and he continued to celebrate her impact on his life in his paintings. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, he had an extended liaison with Virginia Haggard McNeil and fathered a son by her. In 1952, he married Valentine ("Vava") Brodsky, after a courtship that lasted only a few months. The pleasant reality of daily domestic intimacy, however, could never upstage the power of the mythic eternal moment that Chagall had created around the memory of Bella, or diminish those feelings now permanently fixed within the artist's mind, the central vault in the great storehouse of his boundless imagination.

In the present painting, two lovers lie in bed side by side, surrounded by a host of Chagall’s mythical creatures and recurring icons—a glorious oversized red bouquet, a violinist, an angel, roosters, and a flutist. As Sidney Alexander has written: 'Chagall and Bella remained lovers, though married; monogamous but not monotonous; lovers to the end, in a story so felicitous as to offer little drama to the biographer or novelist. Out of this domestic Eden, lived and remembered, poured an endless series of painted epithalamia' (Marc Chagall: A Biography, New York, 1978, p. 82).

Lot Essay Header Image: Present lot illustrated (detail).

It’s dark.

I kiss her.

A still life magically takes shape in my mind.

She poses for me.

Reclining, a rounded white nude takes shape.

I approach her timidly. I confess it was the first time I had seen a nude.

Although she was practically my fiancée I was still afraid of approaching her, of going any nearer, of touching all that loveliness.

As if a feast were spread before your eyes”

M. Chagall

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