Marc Chagall, 1935.

Chagall and the Maeght Foundation

Aimé Maeght, orphaned during the First World War, was taken in by the Red Cross from his northern region and moved to the Cevennes. From the death of his father and his uprooting, he turned it into a strength and worked intensely to live his passions.
After years of struggle with illness, his son Bernard died at age 12. Instead of complaining, crying in public, isolating themselves in the ease acquired after years of work, with Marguerite, my grandmother, they chose life and wanted to leave an immortal work.
This is how, from the death of their beloved son, the Maeght Foundation was born. That is why there is a chapel dedicated to Saint Bernard in the Foundation.
Their friend Marc Chagall, for this life, for the Foundation, made his greatest painting, he will never make a larger, more intense, more important one.
Marc Chagall, in his studio, working on what will remain as his greatest painting, La Vie, which he completed for the opening of the Maeght Foundation in 1964.
Marc Chagall, La Vie, 1964.

Back to the origin
It was in October 1947 that Aimé Maeght met Marc Chagall for the first time, at the opening of his retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art of the city of Paris, which had been organized by Jean Cassou, as if to encourage and celebrate the return of the painter after his years of exile in the United States.
"Ida Chagall took me to her father's house and I was dazzled in the studio when I discovered the gouaches painted in the United States and Mexico, sixty superb sheets that I was lucky enough to be able to bring back to the gallery. Together we decided on the project of the first exhibition at the Gallery. This meeting marked the beginning of our close and trusting collaboration and a friendship that has never wavered." Aimé Maeght
Marc Chagall will exhibit at the Maeght Gallery and became a friend and neighbor of Aimé Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence.

Marc Chagall, L'Anniversaire, 1915
Excerpt from The Maeght Saga:
"Marc Chagall is the closest neighbor to our property and Mamy wants us to go every day to say hello to the mischievous artist. Alone or with my sisters, on foot, by bike or on horseback - with Flo, we roam the surrounding hills perched on another neighbor's horses, I always stop on the way at his and his wife's, Valentine Brodsky, who we call Vava. She is much younger than he is, only ten years older than Ida, Chagall and Bella's daughter, but she runs everything. I fear her. Chagall is crazy about her as he was once crazy about Bella. Grandpa likes to imitate Chagall with his sublime Russian accent. All the cunning of the artist is perceptible in one of the films that Pierre Dumayet devoted to my grandparents where he asks him why he signs his paintings only when they leave his studio. "Because I think that never finished the painting, I'm not happy, I'm a guy who is not happy, except for my wife I am happy. "

Marc Chagall in his atelier painting his wife Bella, 1934.

Aimé Maeght and Marc Chagall in 1962.
Chagall acquired such a mastery of color that when Matisse died in 1954, Pablo Picasso expressed the idea that Chagall was now the only painter to understand what color really is. For Chagall, "All colors are friends of their neighbors and lovers of their opponents.
Original poster printed in lithography by Mourlot in 1954 for an exhibition at my grandfather's house.
In homage to my grandfather, Aimé Maeght, who died on September 5, 1981, here is the speech given by Marc Chagall at his presentation of the Legion of Honor.
Referring to the Foundation: "Such a creation implies a height and a precision in the views, a tenacity, a generosity also that can be proposed as an example.
Coming from Chagall, what a compliment!
Aimé Maeght, 27 April 1906 - 5 September 1981.

Speech given by Marc Chagall at his Légion d'Honneur award ceremony, 1964.
The happiness of creating, without competition, in friendship, almost "as neighbors", Chagall living in the hills of Vence and Picasso, in Mougins.
Chagall's smile is overwhelming, his freshness and joy childlike.

A moment of complicity between two geniuses! Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall.
Chagall and the work
More than a hundred years for this painting. I am only beginning to measure the immense quality of Chagall's work, I would even say that, now, I am seduced, both aesthetically and in the analysis in the history of art.

Marc Chagall, Self-portrait in green, 1914.
When Chagall painted this magnificent work, in 1917-1918, he was in Paris in the middle of the First World War and during the Russian Revolution: it was during this period that he met Malevitch, Apollinaire, Picasso and Matisse and discovered Cubism and Fauvism.
His days are not very happy, only the love for Bella seems to pull him out of the darkness, but as the link seems fragile, if he lets go of her hand, it will fly away without him.
And why is his other hand not in the picture, is it holding another?

Marc Chagall, The Walk, 1918.
In "The Green Violinist" of 1923, Chagall evokes his native country and religion. Chagall believes that it is possible to achieve communion with God through music and dance. The violinist was an essential part of Jewish ceremonies and festivals, and as a child he played it quite well, he said.
The painting is both rooted in tradition, with the klezmer violinist embodying Chagall's Russian Jewish roots, and in modernity, with a cubist vocabulary in the angular coat.
So why did Chagall choose green for the violinist's face?
This is one of Chagall's paintings that made me, late in life, love and even adore his work.
You have to imagine yourself in front of this 2m high canvas. I was overwhelmed by the color, then by the details, then again by the colors, then the elements and geometric shapes that seem to be piled up, then, all the references, both historical, religious or artistic are jostled.
Then, I don't fight anymore, I accept to receive this painting as a gift, I enter it, here I am in the small village of Vitebsk, I meet the actors of the history of art, oh, now, I am in Saint-Paul, in my childhood, I hear the voice of Chagall, that of my grandmother...
I stay a long time in this happiness of painting, the most difficult is to come out of it and return to reality.

Marc Chagall, Green Violinist, 1923.

Marc Chagall, The Rabbit, 1927. We are really in Alice's garden, in the bowels of the earth. Lewis Carroll is not far away.
This painting was done in 1938, the year of the tragic Kristallnacht (November 9-10, 1938). The painting already foreshadowed the horror that the Jewish people would experience during the Second World War. The symbolism of this painting is very strong and the references to the Jewish religion are numerous. For example, the loincloth of Christ is replaced by a "tallit", a shawl used for Jewish prayer. Also, on the right side of the painting, a German synagogue is in flames. On the left, we can see the persecution suffered by the Jews during the Russian Civil War (1917-1923).

Marc Chagall, Joseph, shepherd, preparatory gouache for The Bible, 1931.

Marc Chagall, White Crucifixion, 1938

Chagall, a Russian immigrant in France, expressed his love for his new homeland and in particular for Paris, regularly representing Notre Dame with touching admiration. Without forgetting his Jewish history, he wished to deliver a message of peace, love and harmony between men and this, whatever their religion: "Because all life inevitably goes towards its end, we must during ours, color it with our colors of love and hope."
Marc Chagall, Le Dimanche, 1954.

As he knew how to use paper to make striking whites, we must recognize that Chagall was an outstanding technician. His paintings are incredibly resistant to time, with very few cracks, so little restoration is required.

The flowers of Chagall, the bridges of Paris and the Eiffel Tower my dream life.

Marc Chagall, The Concert, 1958.

Marc Chagall, Bouquet, 1963.

Marc Chagall, Couple in Mimosa, 1967.

Marc Chagall seems satisfied with his ceramic work.
Close and continuous relations between Chagall, dance and theater.
In 1956, the wonderful Greek publisher and collector Tériade proposed that Chagall illustrate the fable of Daphnis and Chloé. It took the painter five years to create the suite of 42 original color lithographs.
The suite of lithographs is considered to be Chagall's most important graphic work. In fanciful compositions and vivid colors, the artist illustrates the pastoral idylls of the goatherd Daphnis and the shepherdess Chloe on the island of Lesbos, as narrated in a romantic Greek fable dating from the 2nd century.
A copy "with suite" is kept at the Maeght Foundation, from the collection of rare books of my grandfather, Aimé Maeght.
The litho "Discovery of Daphnis" by Lamon from the book Daphnis & Chloé illustrated by Chagall.

Marc Chagall, Le Baiser de Chloé, litho from Daphnis et Chloé masterpiece of contemporary bibliophily published by Tériade in 1961.
Chagall designed the sets for the Hermitage Theater in St. Petersburg and for the Jewish Theater in Moscow. In New York, he worked with the choreographers Leonide Massine and George Balanchine. And, of course, he painted the ceiling of the Opéra Garnier in Paris.

Marc Chagall, Dancer on a purple background, 1970.

The bird wounded by an arrow.
Mortally wounded by a feathered arrow,
A bird deplored its sad fate,
And said, while suffering an additional pain:
"Must you contribute to your own misfortune!
Cruel humans! you draw from our wings
To make these mortal machines fly.
But do not mock, you merciless spawn:
Often it happens to you a fate like ours.
Of the children of Japet always a half
Will provide weapons to the other." 
Jean de La Fontaine.
Marc Chagall, illustration The bird wounded by an arrow

"He sleeps
He is awake
Suddenly, he paints
He takes a church and paints with the church
He takes a cow and paints with a cow
With a sardine
With heads, hands, knives..."
Blaise Cendrars, 19 Elastic Poems, Portrait of Chagall 1919.

Marc Chagall in his atelier.

Marc Chagall Project of stage curtain for the ballet Aleko of 1942.

Marc Chagall, The Fables of La Fontaine - The cat and the two sparrows

Marc Chagall, in January 1959 photographed by Richard Avedon.