This work is sold with a photo-certificate from the Comité Marc Chagall.
Executed circa 1980, L’inspiration de l’artiste appears as a proclamation of Marc Chagall’s identity as an artist, and a celebration of the central themes, subjects and unique iconography of his long and prolific career. Though not titled a self-portrait, the numerous references to Chagall’s life and his art in L’inspiration de l’artiste, suggest that the artist at work is the figure of Chagall himself. Seated on a chair in front of an easel, the artist is being touched by a winged figure, depicting the moment of artistic inspiration, as he paints a bright bouquet of flowers, one of his quintessential subjects, which symbolised romantic love.
Behind the artist, underneath a vibrant azure sky, stretches a vista of Vitebsk, with a just visible green dome of a Russian church in the background. A rooster and peasant are pictured in the foreground of the image, symbols of the artist’s rural life in the small Russian town, while a donkey floats in the sky playing a violin, an invocation of music that fills so many of Chagall’s works. This dreamlike image is steeped in Chagall’s memories, a poignant reflection of the artist’s career; Jackie Wullschlager has written of these final years, ‘[Chagall’s] late decades are moving for the energy of the survivor, the fidelity to his childhood and to the Jewish theme, the optimism and the protean ability to reinvent those themes’ (J. Wullschlager, Chagall: Love and Exile, London, 2008 p. 508).