Marc Chagall (1887-1985) was a man of many artistic talents. A pioneer of modernism, and one of its last survivors, he was an artist who worked in virtually every medium, from painting to sculpture, stage sets, stained glass to ceramics, pottery and illustrations. Born near Vitebsk, then part of the Russian Empire, today part of Belarus, Chagall was born into a Jewish family and lived in St Petersburg, Moscow, Paris, and New York City during WWII and returned to France after the war ended where he died at 97.
While he is oftentimes talked of as a “quintessential Jewish artist” Chagall refers to his work as “not the dream of one people but of all humanity.” His past and life in his Belarusian village as well as religion are themes that run throughout his career, but Chagall biographer Jackie Wullschlager writes he “invented a visual language that recorded the thrill and terror of the twentieth century.”She adds:
“On his canvases we read the triumph of modernism, the breakthrough in art to an expression of inner life that … is one of the last century’s signal legacies. At the same time Chagall was personally swept up in the horrors of European history between 1914 and 1945: world wars, revolution, ethnic persecution, the murder and exile of millions. In an age when many major artists fled reality for abstraction, he distilled his experiences of suffering and tragedy into images at once immediate, simple, and symbolic to which everyone could respond.”
His work has been featured in major art institutions world-wide from Europe to the US to Japan, including the Guggenheim, Louvre, the Royal Academy of Art and MOMA. Forty etchings and lithographs spanning from 1922 up to his death in 1985 are currently being shown at the Christian Hohmann Gallery in Palm Desert. Due to the popularity of the exhibit, it has been extended and thus will run until January 31st, 2014.
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