The Comité Marc Chagall has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
The 1960s was a period of great artistic creativity and productivity for Chagall. He had only recently diversified into a variety of different media, including sculpture, ceramics, mosaic, tapestries, murals and, of course, stained glass, an art form that was to occupy him for much of the 1960s and 1970s. Since the unveiling of his Jerusalem Windows in Paris in 1961, Chagall had been hailed as the most influential designer of stained-glass windows of the twentieth century and he received many large-scale public commissions for architectural decorations both in Europe and America. Working in stained glass was, for Chagall, like painting in light; 'the light is the light of the sky, it is that light that gives the colour!' (Chagall, quoted in C. Sorlier (ed.), Chagall by Chagall, New York, 1979, p. 212). Chagall's work in stained glass had a profound effect on his paintings of the 1960s, where colour became an essential element in its own right, finally achieving its full radiance and plenitude. L'âne vert is a wonderfully rich and evocative work, whose intense luminosity pays testament to Chagall's light-inspired colourism.
Chagall had first explored the theme of a vase of flowers in the early 1920s as a romantic extension to the symbolic vocabulary of the paintings depicting himself with his beloved wife Bella. The explosion of colour that so often characterises his bouquets allows Chagall to manipulate dramatic contrasts and subtle harmonies with aplomb, particularly when, as in the present work, he sets his flowers against a striking background of deep blue, so typical of the richness of his palette. Here the rich variety of the flowers is enhanced by the green donkey and the striking red of the women, while other subtler elements of Chagall's dreamlike iconography emerge from the darkness.