Chagall | Etchings and Lithographs - Press Release Text
“Only love interests me, and I am only in contact with things that revolve around love . . . “
In February 2018 John Davies Gallery is hosting an exhibition of over seventy original etchings and lithographs
made by the celebrated Russian artist, Marc Chagall. These include the Bible Series - twenty illustrations based upon Bible stories commissioned by the famed Paris art dealer Ambroise Vollard in 1930, and a suite of etchings commissioned to illustrate ‘La Fables de la Fontaine’ - one of only 85 sets hand-coloured by the artist himself. Another highlight in this extensive exhibition is ‘The Twelve Tribes’ a series of lithographs that the artist was commissioned to design for twelve stained glass windows for the new synagogue of the Hadassah- Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem.
The Russian-born painter and printmaker Marc Chagall (1887-1985) now has a deserved reputation as one of the 20th century’s best-loved artists. Born in Vitebsk, Russia, Chagall studied in St Petersburg before travelling to Paris where he became an influential young member of the avant-garde circle of artists establishing their careers in the heart of the French capital.
Enthralled by the many sights, sounds and colours of the Paris streets, in 1917 Chagall returned to his native Vitebsk to make use of his new experiences as Director and Commissar of Fine Art. However, his bright, colourful, fantasy based work irked the conservative local authorities, so he left for Moscow to design for the new Jewish Theatre.
Returning to Paris in 1923, he met the dealer and collector Ambroise Vollard, who would go on to commission and publish some of Chagall’s most important suites of prints in the following decade. Fear for his life as a Russian born Jew meant that between 1941-47 he moved between occupied France and the USA, eventually settling near Nice where he continued to paint and live out his final years. Chagall was a prolific artist, his most cherished sources of imagery coming from memories of a Jewish childhood, Bible stories, and of the folklore from his early life in Russia.