This work is sold with a photo-certificate from the Comité Marc Chagall.
La femme-cheval, executed in 1948, is a romantic vision that is filled with music and mystery. In this fantastical scene, the femme cheval of the title hovers above the streets of a sleepy town. One musician plays, while elsewhere a disembodied hand holds the bow of a floating violin. In the background is the faint apparition of a couple. At the same time, the neck of the horse appears to become a long, pale veil, making the woman appear like a bride. Romance, love, death and couples had come to feature more and more in Chagall's art since the death of his wife four years earlier. La femme-cheval in part, is an attempt to keep her memory alive, while also anticipating the day when he would finally find himself spiritually reunited with her. This mixture of darkness and joy is perfectly captured in the music, the mystique, and the fun-filled images of these strange fairy-tale characters. The sun at the centre of this picture, which appears paradoxically in the witching hours of the night, adds to the sense of warmth and hope. Meanwhile, the candelabra and the flowers suffuse the scene with the light and lyrical air of romance that makes this such an enchanting image.
Both in terms of content and skill, it is no coincidence that Chagall was creating his celebrated illustrations for the Arabian Nights during the same period. La femme-cheval is an absorbing scene from a deeply personal myth of Chagall's own invention. Blending the influences of his childhood, of the myths and legends of his youth in Vitebsk, of Surrealism and of romance, Chagall created his own ever-shifting lexicon of characters and elements. Chagall even depicted himself with the head of a horse in other works. Animals and humans blend and interact in the dream-like world of La femme-cheval, a world of profund strangeness and infinite possibilities.