Chagall, Marc

(1887-1985) Marc Chagall was born on July 7, 1887, in Vitebsk, Russia to a Jewish family. From 1907 to 1910 he studied in Saint Petersburg, at the Imperial Society for the Protection of the Arts, and later with Léon Bakst where he lived in an environment of poverty and racial discrimination. The few recovered works from Saint Petersburg depict elements of Russian folk art; most were stolen by the framemaker Antokolsky. In 1910 he moved to cosmopolitan Paris, where he met Guillaume Apollinaire and Robert Delaunay and encountered Fauvism and Cubism. Chagall’s first solo show was held in 1914 at Der Sturm gallery in Berlin. Chagall visited Russia in 1914 to marry his cherished fiancee Bella and was prevented from returning to Paris by the outbreak of war. 1914 to 1922 were the self-proclaimed most productive years of his entire career. He settled in his hometown of Vitebsk, where he was appointed Commissar for Art in 1918. After a sojourn in Berlin, Chagall returned to Paris in 1923 and met Ambroise Vollard who persuaded Chagall to begin illustrations for the Bible. Vollard and Chagall went to many circuses together which prompted Vollard to commission Chagall’s first creation of a circus piece. During World War II Chagall fled to the United States where the Museum of Modern Art, New York, gave him a retrospective in 1946. He settled permanently in France in 1948 and exhibited in Paris, Amsterdam, and London. Chagall died on March 28, 1985 at the age of 97, in Saint Paul-de-Vence, France.