This work is sold with a photo-certificate from the Comité Marc Chagall.
Marc Chagall was one of the most prolific and celebrated artists of the 20th Century. With a distinctive artistic vision and unique style, the artist created poetic and dreamlike images that are filled with the themes of love, memory, nostalgia and fantasy. Born and raised in a rural town called Vitebsk in Russia, Chagall, at the age of 24, travelled to Paris for the first time. This visit was seminal for the young artist as he met many of the leading figures of the avant-garde art world, which transformed his art. Chagall’s Russian and Jewish heritage held a central position in his art for the entirety of his life, generating an intensely personal artistic iconography that sets his work apart from other artists of the time.
Painted in 1959, Marc Chagall’s Les amoureux à la palette is a bold depiction of a man and a nude woman, standing under a deep blue sky before an easel adorned with a glowing crescent shaped moon and the forms of what appear to be loosely-drawn flowers. Steeped in romance, the amorous couple in Les amoureux à la palette are most likely the figures of the artist, Chagall and his wife, Valentina. Combining the themes of love and painting, this work encapsulates the central concerns of Chagall’s art, creating a beautifully romantic and deeply poetic image.
Love is one the abiding themes of Chagall’s art and this is exemplified in Les amoureux à la palette. Chagall believed that, ‘In [love] lies the true Art: from it comes my technique, my religion… All other things are a sheer waste of energy, waste of means, waste of life, of time… Art, without Love – whether we are ashamed or not to use that well-known word – such a plastic art would open the wrong door’ (Chagall quoted in J. Baal-Teshuva, ed., Chagall: A Retrospective, exh. cat., New York, 1995, p. 179). At the time that he painted Les amoureux à la palette, Chagall was blissfully in love with his second wife, Valentina Brodsky, who was known as Vava. In 1944, while exiled in America for the duration of the Second World War, Chagall’s beloved first wife Bella Rosenfeld died of an infection. After months of anguish and despair, he met Virginia McNeil, with whom the artist spent 7 years. Their relationship however, ended abruptly and in 1952, Chagall met Vava. The couple married just a few months after meeting. This new love provided Chagall with a much longed for stability and complete happiness for the rest of his life. The pair lived in Vence, an idyllic hillside town in the South of France and it was here that Chagall’s art flourished once again.
In 1959, the year that Chagall painted Les amoureux à la palette, the artist was considered one of the world’s greatest living artists, having achieved global renown and widespread critical acclaim. Large exhibitions of his work had been held in prestigious museums across the world and in 1959, a retrospective was held at the Musée des Arts Decoratifs, at the Musée du Louvre, Paris. Remembered as one of the great masters of the 20th Century, Chagall’s work continues to enthral, fascinate and inspire viewers today.