Marc Chagall

Marc Zakharovich Chagall  (1887 –1985) was a Russian-French artist. Art critic Robert Hughes referred to him as “the quintessential Jewish artist of the twentieth century”. An early modernist, he was associated with several major artistic styles and created works in virtually every artistic medium. According to art historian Michael J. Lewis, Chagall was considered to be “the last survivor of the first generation of European modernists”. Using the medium of stained glass, he produced windows for the cathedrals of Reims and Metz, windows for the UN, and the Jerusalem Windows in Israel. He also did large-scale paintings, including part of the ceiling of the Paris opera. In the period before World War I,  he created his own mixture and style of modern art based on his idea of Eastern European Jewish folk culture. He spent the wartime years in Soviet Belarus, becoming one of the country’s most distinguished artists and a member of the modernist avant-garde founding the Vitebsk Arts College before leaving again for Paris in 1922. In Paris he synthesized the art forms of Cubism, Symbolism, and Fauvism. Yet throughout these phases of his style “he remained most emphatically a Jewish artist, whose work was one long dreamy reverie of life in his native village of Vitebsk. Pablo Picasso remarked in the 1950’s “When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what colour really is”.