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Marc Chagall

Âne bleu aux fleurs

oil, Indian ink and gouache on canvas
1957
41,6 x 33,5 cm / 16 3/8 x 13 1/4 in.
signed lower right verso signed on the stretcher

Motifs of love and flowers permeate the œuvre of Marc Chagall. His return to France in 1948, where he settled in Vence, marked a significant period in his work. Bouquets of freshly cut flowers were delivered to his studio daily so that he could explore their form and colour in varying mediums. The flowers and the head of a blue donkey dominate the foreground and seem to float over a city with a sunset beyond and an intimate scene of a woman and a man embracing under a crescent moon. The scene conveys a mystical feeling. The amorous nature of the work is accentuated further by the colours. The composition is dominated by blue and green tones, accentuated by the color explosion of red and white flowers. Chagall professed that he did not deliberately create symbolic works of art, yet the autobiographical lexicon here is obvious. First introduced in the early 1920s, the image of the vase of flowers, referencing abundance, romantic live and the manifestation of life, became a mainstay in his work. The bouquet represents both his profound love for his first wife Bella, who died in 1944, as well as the happiness recaptured by his second marriage to Valentina “Vava” Brodsky, who he wed in 1952. The composition shows some of the main motifs that Chagall consistently worked on in his artistic career: love, memory and imagination, which are emblematically manifested in the depiction of lovers, the bouquet and the donkey. Provenance available

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