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Marc Chagall

October 3, 2010

Vitebsk, Russia, 1887 – Paris, France, 1985
“I did not see the Bible, I dreamed it. Ever since early childhood, I have been captivated by the Bible. It has always seemed to me and still seems today the greatest source of poetry of all time.” – Marc Chagall

Possibly the most famous Jewish artist of all time, Marc Chagall had modest beginnings born as Movsha Shagal. His father was a herring merchant and his mother ran a grocery store from their home in the mostly Jewish town of Vitebsk. After meeting his future wife Bella and studying art with Yehuda Penin Vitebsk, Chagall attempted to pursue art in Russia but eventually left for Paris, France where he became adopted as a French artist.

Although he struggled in the beginning, with the help of Bella´s strong business sense, Chagall soon became one of the most sought after artists in Western Europe. One of Chagall´s greatest disappointments was that he never (in his lifetime) reached the same level of fame in his home country. Chagall made frequent trips to Israel and was a big supporter of the budding art world here. He had great hopes that Israel would become as famous for its art as Paris was and invested himself in various large projects in Israel.

Chagall painted Jewish scenes almost exclusively. Although he spent most of his life in Paris, he never stopped painting the Hasidic life in his home town. He also illustrated numerous books, including the Bible. Chagall´s works are instantly recognizable. Although he is often considered an early Surrealist or late Cubist or Primitivist, Chagall refused to categorize himself and his dreamy subjects, floating and esoteric, romanticize Jewish life in the Shtetl in an inimitable and striking way.

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