Marc Chagall
Marc Chagall, (1887-1985))

Chagall was a highly creative and unique Russian-French artist who dabbled in virtually every artistic medium throughout his career, including paintings, lithographs, stained glass, ceramics, tapestries, mosaics and more. Although he was associated with several key art movements throughout his life, his work retained a unique characteristic.
Born in 1887 to a poor Jewish family in Russia, Chagall was the eldest of nine children. Chagall’s artistic talent emerged while studying at a secular Russian school, and despite his father’s disapproval, he began studying art with Leon Bakst in St. Petersburg in 1907. His initial paintings revolved around images from childhood, a theme that would serve as his motivation and inspiration for the duration of his career.
In 1910, Chagall moved to Paris for four years. During this period he created some of his most famous paintings of the Jewish village, and developed the features that became recognizable trademarks of his art. He translated the world into dreamlike and whimsical images, created with a colorful palette and influenced by memory, fantasy and religion. In 1914, before the outbreak of World War I, Chagall had a one-man show in Berlin, featuring work that referenced Jewish culture. He lived in Russia during the war and in 1917 he espoused the revolution and was appointed Commissar for Fine Arts in Vitebsk, and later the director of the newly established Free Academy of Art. He left Russia in 1922 and established himself in France permanently except for the years from 1941-1948, when he fled France during World War II. Chagall was outraged by Nazism, especially after he discovered that the Germans had ravaged his hometown of Vitebsk. His work during this time and afterwards conveyed his horror and heartbreak, depicting Jewish refugees and martyrs.
In addition to images of the Jewish world, Chagall's paintings are inspired by themes from the Bible. He was commissioned to illustrate the Old Testament and travelled to Palestine for inspiration and to experience the holy land. During his time in New York, he became increasingly recognized and in 1946 the Museum of Modern Art held an exhibition showing forty years of his work. In the 1960’s and 1970’s he completed many large scale projects for public spaces and civic and religious buildings, painting a ceiling at the Opera House in Paris, a glass window at the United Nations, murals at the New York Metropolitan Opera, and decorations for the Vatican. The Tel Aviv Art Museum also houses twelve stained glass windows done by Chagall. He is considered one of the most successful artists of the 20th century and continues to be highly regarded in the art world.
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