12.11.2019
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3 countries provided the Moscow museum with Marc Chagall’s works

The exposition of Russian-born Jewish artist is exhibited in New Jerusalem

Bella in Mourillon
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Modern Art paintings were provided by The Centre Pompidou in Paris, The Museum of Marc Chagall in Vitebsk, The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow, Chagall Museum in Nice and private collections from Russia, France and Belarus. The project’s curator was Ekaterina Selezneva, an expert from the Marc Chagall committee in Paris. She explains why the exhibition is hosted in The New Jerusalem: “All his life the artist was searching for His Jerusalem”. The New Jerusalem appeared in the vicinity of Moscow in the middle of the XVII century. Patriarch Nikon planned to create an architectural copy of the Holy Land near the capital. And in the XX century, a museum was built in the monastery. It was then separated from the monastery and began to operate independently. This New Jerusalem History became an impulse for the organizers to talk about religion, life and love on The New Jerusalem’s soil, taking as an interlocutor the artist Marc Chagall, who also managed to combine religious traditions and cultural spaces.

“Twelve Tribes of Israel” were created by Marc Chagall in 1959-1960. Private Collection

The exhibition features 238 works of art, including 22 sketches that Russian viewers will see for the first time as well as 105 biblical engravings. The last ones the artist painted by hand and gave as a gift to his second wife Vava Chagall.

"Portrait of Vava" was created in 1966 in Paris. You can the Eiffel Tower at the top right and The Paris Opera at the bottom
“Portrait of Vava” was created in 1966 in Paris. You can the Eiffel Tower at the top right and The Paris Opera at the bottom. Private collection

The idea of ​​the exhibition is expressed by the words of Marc Chagall himself: “Painting seemed to me some kind of window through which I flew into another world.” He claimed that he was “born between heaven and earth” and constantly resided in this “intermediate” space, understanding his existence in art and life, as being in a special dimension. For Chagall, there is no distance between the visible and the imaginary, between the subject and the symbol, between the concrete and the abstract. “He carries everything with himself” – as one of his key characters – a wanderer flying over the city with a bag over his shoulders, in which he carries all his belongings. “Honestly, I am a man with one house and a single picture,” the artist assured.

The work Chagall is most famous for is «‎Over the city» appeared in 1913
The work Chagall is most famous for is «‎Over the city» appeared in 1913. The Tretyakov Gallery

“Chagall’s characters are simply endowed with the gift of flying – like birds or angels. They are light, like happy love, weightless, like a dream, directed to heaven, like a balloon. The sky for them is the same habitat as the earth. Love transfers Chagall to other worlds, to distant and near cities,” says curator Ekaterina Selezneva.

«Clock with Blue Wing», created in 1914. Private collection in Paris
“Clock with Blue Wing”, created in 1914. Private collection in Paris

The title of the exhibition “Chagall: Between Heaven and Earth” refers to various periods of the artist’s career. His works of the first quarter of the XX century were devoted to “earthly life”. The paintings of the next 25 years are connected with “travels and bridges”. It was then, in 1931, that the author visited Israel. Paintings of the late period of his life may be characterized as “heavenly being”.

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