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


Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
signed and dated 'Chagall 1910' (lower left); inscribed in Cyrillic 'most' (lower right)
wash, brush and ink, pencil and crayon on paper
8 3/8 x 6 3/8 in. (21.7 x 16.3 cm.)
Executed in 1910
David McNeil (the artist's son), Paris, by descent from the artist (no. D 883).
Acquired from the above by the present owners in 1987.
V. Rakitin, Chagall, Disegni inediti dalla Russia a Parigi, Milan, 1989, p. 42 (ill. p. 43).
Milan, Studio Marconi, Marc Chagall, Disegni inediti dalla Russia a Parigi, May - July 1988; this exhibition later travelled to Turin, Galleria della Sindone, Palazzo Reale, Dec. 1990 - Mar. 1991; Catania, Monastero dei Benedettini, Oct. - Nov. 1994; Meina, Museo e centro studi per il disegno, June - Aug. 1996.
Hannover, Sprengel Museum, Marc Chagall, "Himmel und Erde", Dec. 1996 - Feb. 1997.
Darmstadt, Institut Mathildenhöhe, Marc Chagall, Von Russland nach Paris, Zeichnungen 1906-1967, Dec. 1997 - Jan. 1998.
Abbazia Olivetana, Fondazione Ambrosetti, Marc Chagall, Il messaggio biblico, May - July 1998.
Klagenfurt, Stadtgalerie, Marc Chagall, Feb. - May 2000, p. 17 (ill.).
Florida, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Chagall, Jan. - Mar. 2002.
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VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium

Lot Essay

This work is sold with a photo-certificate from David McNeil.

Chagall chose the simple subject of a bridge, probably one over the Dvina River by Vitebsk, yet he executed it with such movement and violent expressionistic brushstrokes. The whole scene seems turbulent and stormy, with the dark sky and the criss-cross of lines constructing the bridge. Even the dark figure on the bridge seems to be fighting its way against the flow of Chagall's brushstrokes.

The Cyrillic inscription of 'the bridge' could perhaps be a reference to Chagall's encounter with Bella, whom he had met the preceding year through Thea Brachman (see lot 591). One of the chapters in Bella's book of memories, Erste Begegnung bears the title The Bridge, where she describes how fascinated she was by Chagall, with his wild and ambitious character.

The river appears to have had a deep significance for Chagall in his inner search for the soul, as he writes in My Life, 'I see the river flowing away into the distance, the bridge beyond, and close at hand, the eternal barrier, the earth, the grave. Here is my soul. Look for me here' (p. 16).

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