| Chagall, Marc Biography
Russian-born French painter and designer, distinguished for his surrealistic inventiveness. Chagall is recognized as one of the most significant painters of the 20th century.
Chagall was born July 7, 1887, in Vitsyebsk, Russia and was educated in art in Saint Petersburg and, from 1910, in Paris, where he remained until 1914. The four years of this first stay in the French capital are often considered his best phase. Representative works are the Self-Portrait with Seven Fingers (1912), I and the Village (1911), Hommage to Apollinaire (1911-12), Calvary (1912), The Fiddler (1912), and Paris Through the Window (1913). Between 1915 and 1917 Chagall lived in Saint Petersburg; after the Russian Revolution he was director of the Art Academy in Vitsyebsk from 1918 to 1919 and was art director of the Moscow Jewish State Theater from 1919 to 1922. In 1923, Chagall moved to France. With the outbreak of World War II, Chagall moved to the Loire district of France and then, as the Nazi menace for all European Jews became increasingly real, further and further south. Finally, in July 1941, Chagall and his family took refuge in the United States; he spent most of the next few years in New York City or its neighbourhood. For a while Chagall continued in his oil painting to develop themes he had already treated in France; typical artworks of this period are the Yellow Crucifixion (1943) and The Feathers and the Flowers (1943). But in 1944 his wife Bella died, and memories of her, often in a Vitebsk setting, became a recurring pictorial motif. She appears as a weeping wife and a phantom bride in Around Her (1945) and, again, as the bride in The Wedding Candles (1945) and Nocturne (1947).
Chagall's distinctive use of color and form is derived partly from Russian expressionism and was influenced decisively by French cubism. His numerous artworks represent characteristically vivid recollections of Russian-Jewish village scenes, as in I and the Village (1911, Museum of Modern Art, New York City).
He died in St. Paul de Vence, France, on March 28, 1985.
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