The Comité Marc Chagall has confirmed the authenticity of this painting.
The coq, or rooster, occupies a position in Chagall's personal mythology similar to that of the Minotaur in Picasso's private symbolism. In both cases the artist has projected himself into non-human form, and in this process has transformed the designated creature into a personal avatar, which the artist is then free to use as a surrogate in his paintings. For each artist the respective animal is an acknowledged symbol of virility, and by extension, an appropriate representative of the artist's creative abilities.
While Picasso's Minotaur is drawn from classical mythology, and possesses a terrifying aspect that stems from both its appearance and the legend surrounding it, Chagall's rooster has far more humble origins and its familiar domesticated character inspires more congeniality than awe. "The fowlyard, too, has its place in Chagall's recollections of his childhood. That is why poultry are always part of the Russian scenes painted during his first Paris period. In the twenties impressions of French farmyards and work on [La Fontaine's] Fables lend the motif a new topicality" (F. Meyer, Marc Chagall, New York, 1964, p. 381).
Chagall had previously identified more closely with four-legged farm animals, such as the donkey or the goat, but by the late 1920s the rooster had assumed a dominant position in Chagall's bestiary. "As a symbol, the cock has an entirely different and far stranger nature than the quadrupeds, which, despite their four feet, are more closely related to man. For thousands of years it has played a part in religious rites as the embodiment of the forces of sun and fire. This symbolic meaning still lingers on in Chagall's work, where the cock represents elementary spiritual power" (ibid., pp. 380-381).
In Le coq rouge et le peintre Chagall is represented not only as the central figure of the oversized rooster but also as the artist at his easel, painting a lively bouquet of flowers. His fantastical imagery is set against a vibrant blue midnight sky, further demonstrating that while Chagall had always considered himself primarily a colorist, but it was not until the later stages of his life that his color achieved its full radiance and plentitude in his work.