Marc Chagall (1887 – 1985) Etchings and Lithographs
Open to the public Saturday 21 January - Sunday 19 February
12 noon - 4pm, FREE Entry
All work is for sale
Babylon ARTS, Waterside, Ely, CB7 4AU
In 1918 Marc Chagall was made Director and Commissar of Fine Art in his home town of Vitebsk. At this time fantasy elements had begun to emerge in his painting – a development not welcomed by the town’s authorities who favoured more prosaic realist imagery. Thus the floating figures that so readily visually define Chagall’s work, and which can be seen with such frequency in this exhibition, were at that time not universally appreciated.
Seeking a more welcoming environment Chagall returned to Paris, where, in 1923, he met the renowned art-dealer Ambrose Vollard. It was a meeting that initiated a fruitful though at times controversial partnership.
It was Vollard’s commissioning of Chagall in 1928 to provide etchings to illustrate Jean de la Fontaine’s Fables that sparked controversy. This book held a prominent position within French literature, being included in the curriculum of every French school. Consequently many French nationals were outraged that such a prestigious commission had been handed to a foreigner!
In 1930 Vollard commissioned Chagall to produce a series of illustrations based upon the Bible. It was a book that was to profoundly influence his work and he mined its poetry to create deeply poetic and sensual imagery. The project was a lengthy one and the first lithographs, were not published until 1956. However, they met with such acclaim that Chagall produced a further set, published in 1960.
Chagall was powerfully drawn towards lithography as a graphic medium and the extent of this can be gauged from his comment:
Whenever I bent over the lithography stone…it was as though I was touching a talisman. It seemed as though I could pour all my sadness and joys into it.
This exhibition provides the opportunity to appreciate that emotion, featuring lithographs from the Bible suite and etchings from La Fontaine’s Fables (1928-31).