Marc Chagall hailed from what is now Belarus, born there in 1887. He died in Saint-Paul, Alpes-Maritimes, France, in 1985 and spent his life creating some of the best-loved paintings of all time. Let’s find out more about one of the most famous artists in the world:
- Chagall stuttered as a child and fainted often. After he grew up, the painter attributed his earlier timidity to being scared of growing up.
- Chagall’s childhood fearfulness never disappeared completely. He continued to avoid the spotlight as an adult, sometimes denying being Chagall! When asked if he was the revered artist, Chagall would playfully point at someone else saying maybe that person was him.
- His family nominally followed the tenets of Hasidic Judaism, a denomination which prohibits visual representation of god’s creations. This meant that Chagall grew up in a home with no art or images of any kind and, when the painter began creating figures in his artwork, his pious uncle refused to even shake his hand.
- Even though Chagall referred to his hometown Vitebsk as a boring, strange, unhappy town, its often the setting or subject of his paintings. This is despite leaving it at just 19-years old for St Petersburg to attend the Imperial Society for the Protection of Fine Arts.
- The time he spent in St Petersburg was not easy. Chagall disliked having to study classical art and was so poor that he frequently passed out from hunger.
- In 1911, when Chagall was 24-years old, he managed to make the move to Paris because an admirer of his work who was in the Russian Duma bequeathed him ₽40 a month, equivalent to just less than €180 in today, or ₽4293,53. He lived very frugally during this period, frequently on ½ a herring a day. He also painted in the nude to keep his clothes clean.
- While he was in Paris, Chagall lived at an artist’s colony called La Ruche, or The Beehive. Here he rubbed shoulders with other painters who would go on to make their mark, including Robert Delauany, Fernand Léger, and Amadeo Modigliani.
- Success was not a straightforward journey for Chagal. For example, in 1914 Chagall held an exhibition consisting of roughly 200 works at Berlin’s Sturm Gallery that was very well-received. Tragically, World War I erupted very soon after it and the painter was never able to recover any of these no doubt seminal works.
- In 1915, Chagall married the daughter of the richest family in Vitebsk, Bella Rosenfeld. The madly-in-love couple appear in Above the Town, painted in 1918, as flying lovers, a theme Chagall would return to time and time again.
- After 1920, Chagall befriended one of the most important art dealers of the 20th century, Ambroise Vollard. Besides supplying Chagall with many commissions, Vollard introduced the painter to other leading artists, including Pablo Picasso.
Chagall’s store of images, which includes a range of options as diverse as the best NBA bets that punters can find online today features enormous bouquets, flying lovers, marvellous animals, prophets from the bible, rooftop fiddlers, and sad clowns. This has ensured his stature as one of the 20th century’s most popular important innovators of the School of Paris.