Chagall and Music
* Accompanying text for the exhibition at the Montreal Beaux-Arts Museum, from 28th January to 11th June 2017 and Los Angeles LACMA, from 23th July 2017 to 7th January 2018* Highly illustrated, this book explores a hitherto overlooked topic in Chagall studiesThis book explores the connection between Chagall and music. This intimate relationship, which ran deep in both his family history and the Jewish culture of his native city, was particularly meaningful in Chagall's creations for the stage. His works for the Jewish Theatre (Moscow, 1919-1920) and the ballets 'Aleko' (Mexico, 1942), 'The Firebird' (New York, 1945), 'Daphnis et Chlo�' (1958) and 'The Magic Flute' (New York, 1967) celebrate the links he established between music, large-scale set design, and the material design of costumes. Chagall's monumental projects in the 1960s, such as the ceiling of the Paris Opera (1964) and his decorative architectural program for the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center in New York (1966), are a reflection of his notion of 'total art', and his explorations in the universality of music and its translation into the spatial dimension. Music was a constant source of inspiration to Chagall. The subject of his creations, it provided internal rhythm and strength to his compositions, as well as dictating the intensity and ranges of color he used. Offering a fresh approach to iconography, Chagall and Music argues for the intersection of audial and visual art as the mark of Chagall's incessant and brilliant modernity.
Chagall and the Triumph of Music
An exceptional insight into Chagall's work, at an exceptional price A small and portable pocket book whose contents are larger-than-life Published to accompany exhibitions at Montreal Beaux-Arts Museum, from 28th January to 11th June 2017 and Los Angeles LACMA, from 23th July 2017 to 7th January 2018 Music was a constant source of inspiration for Marc Chagall, both as a muse for creation and as a rhythm for composition. Intimately linked to his family world and the Jewish cultural context of his native town, Vitebsk, Chagall s relationship with music would manifest itself consistently throughout his long life. In fact, music is omnipresent in his oeuvre: there is a sense of flow between his attentive listening to composers, and his scenic and architectural creations. This book underlines the vital influence of music on the artist's work from the 1920s to the 1960s. Accompanies exhibitions at Montreal Beaux-Arts Museum, from 28th January to 11th June 2017 and Los Angeles LACMA, from 23th July 2017 to 7th January 2018"
“When Matisse dies,” Pablo Picasso remarked in the 1950s, “Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what color really is.” As a pioneer of modernism and one of the greatest figurative artists of the twentieth century, Marc Chagall achieved fame and fortune, and over the course of a long career created some of the best-known and most-loved paintings of our time. Yet behind this triumph lay struggle, heartbreak, bitterness, frustration, lost love, exile—and above all the miracle of survival. Born into near poverty in Russia in 1887, the son of a Jewish herring merchant, Chagall fled the repressive “potato-colored” tsarist empire in 1911 for Paris. There he worked alongside Modigliani and Léger in the tumbledown tenement called La Ruche, where “one either died or came out famous.” But turmoil lay ahead—war and revolution; a period as an improbable artistic commissar in the young Soviet Union; a difficult existence in Weimar Germany, occupied France, and eventually the United States. Throughout, as Jackie Wullschlager makes plain in this groundbreaking biography, he never ceased giving form on canvas to his dreams, longings, and memories. His subject, more often than not, was the shtetl life of his childhood, the wooden huts and synagogues, the goatherds, rabbis, and violinists—the whole lost world of Eastern European Jewry. Wullschlager brilliantly describes this world and evokes the characters who peopled it: Chagall’s passionate, energetic mother, Feiga-Ita; his eccentric fellow painter and teacher Bakst; his clever, intense first wife, Bella; their glamorous daughter, Ida; his tough-minded final companion and wife, Vava; and the colorful, tragic array of artist, actor, and writer friends who perished under the Stalinist regime. Wullschlager explores in detail Chagall’s complex relationship with Russia and makes clear the Russian dimension he brought to Western modernism. She shows how, as André Breton put it, “under his sole impulse, metaphor made its triumphal entry into modern painting,” and helped shape the new surrealist movement. As art critic of the Financial Times, she provides a breadth of knowledge on Chagall’s work, and at the same time as an experienced biographer she brings Chagall the man fully to life—ambitious, charming, suspicious, funny, contradictory, dependent, but above all obsessively determined to produce art of singular beauty and emotional depth. Drawing upon hitherto unseen archival material, including numerous letters from the family collection in Paris, and illustrated with nearly two hundred paintings, drawings, and photographs, Chagall is a landmark biography to rank with Hilary Spurling’s Matisse and John Richardson’s Picasso. From the Hardcover edition.
Marc Chagall on Art and Culture
Marc Chagall (1887-1985) traversed a long route from a boy in the Jewish Pale of Settlement, to a commissar of art in revolutionary Russia, to the position of a world-famous French artist. This book presents for the first time a comprehensive collection of Chagall's public statements on art and culture. The documents and interviews shed light on his rich, versatile, and enigmatic art from within his own mental world. The book raises the problems of a multi-cultural artist with several intersecting identities and the tensions between modernist form and cultural representation in twentieth-century art. It reveals the travails and achievements of his life as a Jew in the twentieth century and his perennial concerns with Jewish identity and destiny, Yiddish literature, and the state of Israel. This collection includes annotations and introductions of the Chagall texts by the renowned scholar Benjamin Harshav that elucidate the texts and convey the changing cultural contexts of Chagall's life. Also featured is the translation by Benjamin and Barbara Harshav of the first book about Chagall's work, the 1918 Russian The Art of Marc Chagall.
Chagall and the Artists of the Russian Jewish Theater
Shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution, Soviet Jewish theaters became catalysts for modernist experimentation. Working with avant-garde playwrights, actors, and producers in a new political environment, artists such as Marc Chagall, Natan Altman, Robert Falk, and Aleksandr Tyshler combined Russian folk art with elements of Cubo-Futurism and Constructivism into a bold new style. This collaboration gave rise to extraordinary productions with highly original stage designs that redefined the concept of theater itself. From the Jewish mythical and folkloric plays produced at Habima to the daring, expressionistic Yiddish dramas presented at the Moscow State Yiddish Theater (GOSET), this beautifully illustrated book chronicles the flourishing of Soviet Jewish theater in the 1920s and 1930s. Spanning such topics as Jewish culture and history in the Soviet Union, the volume includes stunning reproductions of Chagall’s celebrated theater murals; fascinating archival materials such as posters, prints, and playbills; designs for costumes and sets; and many other breathtaking works.
Part of the Jewish Encounter series Novelist and critic Jonathan Wilson clears away the sentimental mists surrounding an artist whose career spanned two world wars, the Russian Revolution, the Holocaust, and the birth of the State of Israel. Marc Chagall’s work addresses these transforming events, but his ambivalence about his role as a Jewish artist adds an intriguing wrinkle to common assumptions about his life. Drawn to sacred subject matter, Chagall remains defiantly secular in outlook; determined to “narrate” the miraculous and tragic events of the Jewish past, he frequently chooses Jesus as a symbol of martyrdom and sacrifice. Wilson brilliantly demonstrates how Marc Chagall’s life constitutes a grand canvas on which much of twentieth-century Jewish history is vividly portrayed. Chagall left Belorussia for Paris in 1910, at the dawn of modernism, looking back dreamily on the world he abandoned. After his marriage to Bella Rosenfeld in 1915, he moved to Petrograd, but eventually returned to Paris after a stint as a Soviet commissar for art. Fleeing Paris steps ahead of the Nazis, Chagall arrived in New York in 1941. Drawn to Israel, but not enough to live there, Chagall grappled endlessly with both a nostalgic attachment to a vanished past and the magnetic pull of an uninhibited secular present. Wilson’s portrait of Chagall is altogether more historical, more political, and edgier than conventional wisdom would have us believe–showing us how Chagall is the emblematic Jewish artist of the twentieth century. Visit nextbook.org/chagall for a virtual museum of Chagall images. From the Hardcover edition.
For a couple of decades before World War II, a group of immigrant painters and sculptors, including Amedeo Modigliani, Marc Chagall, Chaim Soutine and Jules Pascin dominated the new art scene of Montparnasse in Paris. Art critics gave them the name "the School of Paris" to set them apart from the French-born (and less talented) young artists of the period. Modigliani and Chagall eventually attained enormous worldwide popularity, but in those earlier days most School of Paris painters looked on Soutine as their most talented contemporary. Willem de Kooning proclaimed Soutine his favorite painter, and Jackson Pollack hailed him as a major influence. Soutine arrived in Paris while many painters were experimenting with cubism, but he had no time for trends and fashions; like his art, Soutine was intense, demonic, and fierce. After the defeat of France by Hitler's Germany, the East European Jewish immigrants who had made their way to France for sanctuary were no longer safe. In constant fear of the French police and the German Gestapo, plagued by poor health and bouts of depression, Soutine was the epitome of the tortured artist. Rich in period detail, Stanley Meisler's Shocking Paris explores the short, dramatic life of one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century.
Sounding Authentic considers the intersecting influences of nationalism, modernism, and technological innovation on representations of ethnic and national identities in twentieth-century art music. Author Joshua S. Walden discusses these forces through the prism of what he terms the "rural miniature": short violin and piano pieces based on folk song and dance styles. This genre, mostly inspired by the folk music of Hungary, the Jewish diaspora, and Spain, was featured frequently on recordings and performance programs in the early twentieth century. Furthermore, Sounding Authentic shows how the music of urban Romany ensembles developed into nineteenth-century repertoire of virtuosic works in the style hongrois before ultimately influencing composers of rural miniatures. Walden persuasively demonstrates how rural miniatures represented folk and rural cultures in a manner that was perceived as authentic, even while they involved significant modification of the original sources. He also links them to the impulse toward realism in developing technologies of photography, film, and sound recording. Sounding Authentic examines the complex ways the rural miniature was used by makers of nationalist agendas, who sought folkloric authenticity as a basis for the construction of ethnic and national identities. The book also considers the genre's reception in European diaspora communities in America where it evoked and transformed memories of life before immigration, and traces how many rural miniatures were assimilated to the styles of American popular song and swing. Scholars interested in musicology, ethnography, the history of violin performance, twentieth-century European art music, the culture of the Jewish Diaspora and more will find Sounding Authentic an essential addition to their library.
Dreamer from the Village
Chronicles the life of Marc Chagall, a celebrated twentieth-century artist who was born in Russia.
It is an odd thing: a desire comes to me to write, and to write in my faltering mother tongue, which, as it happens, I have not spoken since I left the home of my parents. Far as my childhood years have receded from me, I now suddenly find them coming back to me, closer and closer to me, so near, they could be breathing into my mouth. I see myself so clearly a plump little thing, a tiny girl running all over the place, pushing my way from one door through another, hiding like a curled-up little worm with my feet up on our broad window sills. My father, my mother, the two grandmothers, my handsome grandfather, my own and outside families, the comfortable and the needy, weddings and funerals, our streets and gardens all this streams before my eyes like the deep waters of our Dvina. My old home is not there any more. Everything is gone, even dead. My father, may his prayers help us, has died. My mother is living and God alone knows whether she still lives in an un-Jewish city that Is quite alien to her. The children are scattered In this world and the other, some here, some there. But each of them, in place of his vanished inheritance, has taken with him, like a piece of his father's shroud, the breath of the parental home. I am unfolding my piece of heritage, and at once there rise to my nose the odours of my old home. My ears begin to sound with the clamour of the shop and the melodies that the rabbi sang on holidays. From every corner a shadow thrusts out, and no sooner do I touch it than it pulls me Into a dancing circle with other shadows. They jostle one another, prod me in the back, grasp me by the hands, the feet, until all of them together fall upon me like a host of humming flies on a hot day. I do not know where to take refuge from them. And so, just once, I want very much to wrest from the darkness a day, an hour, a moment belonging to my vanished home. But how does one bring back to life such a moment? Dear God, it is so hard to draw out a fragment of bygone life from fleshless memories! And what if they should flicker out, my lean memories, and die away together with me? I want to rescue them. I recall that you, my faithful friend, have often in affection begged me to tell you about my life in the time before you knew me. So I am writing for you.