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theguardian - 28 days ago

The Great British Art Tour: Chagall leaves his dreams for a living nightmare

With public art collections closed we are bringing the art to you, exploring highlights from across the country in partnership with Art UK. Today’s pick: Apocalypse en Lilas, Capriccio by Marc Chagall, in London’s Ben Uri gallery.This gouache, ink and pencil study in lilac and grey was executed in April 1945 by Marc Chagall after almost four years in exile in New York. He had fled to the US after the Nazi occupation of France during the second world war. Born into a Hasidic Jewish family in Vitebsk, Russia (now in Belarus), in 1887, Chagall arrived in Paris in 1910 and became a celebrated artist of the École de Paris, best known for his dreamlike paintings combining aspects of French tradition with Russian folklore and Jewish motifs. In 1923, he and his wife Bella became naturalised French citizens.This was probably the first work that Chagall produced after coming out of mourning for Bella, who had died suddenly in September 1944 after almost 30 years of marriage. It was created in response to seeing the horrors of the concentration camps revealed through newspapers and Pathé newsreels. His pencil titles in Cyrillic (upper right) translate as “Apocalypse” and “Capriccio” (fantasy), and his biographer Jackie Wullschläger has described it as “the bleakest of Chagall’s many crucifixions”: combining symbolism with realism and incorporating factual information about the Holocaust for the first time. Continue reading...


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