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Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
Marc Chagall (1887-1985)

Nu au cyclamen, Gstaad

Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
Nu au cyclamen, Gstaad
signed 'Marc Chagall' (lower right)
gouache, watercolor, colored wax crayons and brush and black ink on paper
25 1/8 x 19 7/8 in. (63.8 x 50.4 cm.)
Executed in 1971
Private collection, New York (circa 1975).
By descent from the above to the present owners.
New York, Pierre Matisse Gallery, Marc Chagall, Paintings and gouaches, April-May 1972, p. 30, no. 12 (illustrated in color, p. 22).

Lot Essay

The Comité Marc Chagall has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Marc Chagall established himself from the outset as a colorist, but it was not until the latter part of his life that his color achieved its full radiance and plenitude in his work. It was during the early 1970s, using the lessons he had learned while working on several large-scale public commissions for stained glass windows that light and color became essential elements in Chagall's work in their own right. Nu au cyclamen, Gstaad, is suffused with luminosity and sun drenched color, which Chagall has complimented with his airy, free handling of pigment. The imagery employed combines some of Chagall's favorite subjects in a composition of great poetical beauty. Like many of his best works, this gouache and watercolor painting represents two lovers caught up in the early excitement of love, surrounded by floral bouquets that explode in a riot of color.

The theme of the young lovers is the most frequent subject in Chagall's paintings. There are many variants on this theme, and as befitting the mysteries of human love, and so characteristic of Chagall's work generally, there is rarely a straight-forward or clearly logical narrative behind these paintings. Time has been compressed, and events seem to take place in the haze of memories or dreams. Susan Compton writes: "It was a vision of 'real' love, that love which the artist was to share with his wife Bella...this celebration by the lovers is equally fantastic, for their joy has levitated them from the ground. Their faces are real enough, but now their position is imaginary. Yet by this device Chagall has conveyed the magic carpet of human love, borrowed perhaps from the world of folk tale, where the hero and heroine live happily ever after" (Chagall, Royal Academy, London, exh. cat., 1985, pp. 15-16).

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