Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
This Lot has been sourced from overseas. When au… Read more
Marc Chagall (1887-1985)

L'offrande au peintre

Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
L'offrande au peintre
signed 'Marc Chagall' (lower left); signed again 'Marc Chagall' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
91.7 x 64 cm.(36 x 25½ in.)
Painted in 1983
The artist's estate.
Anonymous sale, Galerie Kornfeld, Bern, 17 June 2005, lot 23.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Special notice

This Lot has been sourced from overseas. When auctioned, such property will remain under “bond” with the applicable import customs duties and taxes being deferred unless and until the property is brought into free circulation in the PRC. Prospective buyers are reminded that after paying for such lots in full and cleared funds, if they wish to import the lots into the PRC, they will be responsible for and will have to pay the applicable import customs duties and taxes. The rates of import customs duty and tax are based on the value of the goods and the relevant customs regulations and classifications in force at the time of import.
Sale room notice
Please note the Comité Marc Chagall has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Lot Essay

L'offrande au peintre presents a moving example of Marc Chagall's joyous outlook onto the world. Throughout his career, Chagall created a unique universe of symbols and figures often floating across wide expanses of colour which, in their ensemble, seemed to conjure memories, dreams and poetic celebrations of life. In L'offrande au peintre, the act of painting opens up a whole world of images: as the painter portrays flowers on his canvas, a woman suddenly appears next to him, perhaps symbolising a muse, guiding and protecting the artist in his creative flow. Images and figures, emerging from memory or perhaps from his imagination, float all around.

The small huts of the village seem to recall Chagall's native town Vitebsk (now Viciebsk), in Belarus, while the figures may evoke people from the artist's life. Symbolical l y , L'offrande au peintre - 'offering to the painter' - may have been intended by Chagall as a celebration of painting and its power to evoke memories, unite people and create new worlds. Although born in Belarus, Chagall is regarded as one of the foremost exponents of the Parisian school of painting. He spent a great part of his life in France, becoming a friend of artists such as Picasso. In this regard, Chagall belongs to those numerous artists who, at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, had searched for artistic inspiration and recognition in Paris, a city regarded at the time as the cultural capi t a l of Europe. Chagall had come to Paris in search for light and colour. 'I hate Russian or Central Europe colour', he admitted, 'it is like the footwear there. Soutine, me, all of us left because of colour. I was very dark when I arrived in Paris. I was potatocoloured, like Van Gogh. Paris is light and bright' (M. Chagall, quoted in J. Baal-Teshuva, Marc Chagall 1887-1985, K?ln, 1998, p. 206). In L'offrande au peintre, space has dissolved into pure colour: the figures and symbols of Chagall's art are juxtaposed against a backdrop of intense yellow and red. The diagonal division of the canvas seems to evoke a symbolic division between the painter's earthly reality and the artistic universe of his creation.

Chagall painted L'offrande au peintre in 1983. By that time, the artist had achieved worldwide success, and was being celebrated as one of the most important painters of the Twentieth Century through a series of momentous exhibitions. In 1984, the Muse National d'Art Moderne in Paris organised an important retrospective of Chagall's works on paper, while the Maeght Foundation in Saint-Paul-de-Vence arranged a major retrospective of his paintings. In 1985, the Royal Academy in London also honoured the painter with a major exhibition, which then travelled to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, reaffirming the artist's stature beyond Europe.

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