This work is sold with a photo-certificate from the Comité Marc Chagall dated Paris, le 24 octobre 2002 and numbered No 2002080G.
Marc Chagall left his home in Vitebsk in 1910, settling in Paris in the summer of that year at the age of twenty. Two days after his arrival in France, he visited the Salon des Indépendants, where he saw the work of a panoply of contemporary French artist including the Fauves, the Cubists and the Orphists. Shortly thereafter, he took a studio in bohemian Montparnasse in a legendary building known as "La Ruche", home to many of the most innovative painters and poets of the day. Immersed in this atmosphere of rich cultural exchange, Chagall entered a phase of intense creativity and imaginative growth. By the time he painted the present work, he had become one of the leading figures of the European avant-garde, whose work while never relinquishing its highly idiosyncratic character, displayed total comprehension of the aesthetic discourse of this time.
The present work relates to a series of nudes that Chagall painted during his "La Ruche" period. Here the Constructivist arrangement of flat planes in the background and the Cubist treatment of the figure is typical of his works from this period. The nude figure may derive from a sketch in a notebook that the artist gave to the poet Blaise Cendrars circa 1912 (cf. Marc Chagall, Oeuvres sur papier, exh. cat., Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, 1984, p.63, no. 19).