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In 1950 Chagall began work on two large murals to decorate the auditorium of the newly-opened Watergate theatre in London. 'The Dance and the Circus' and 'The Blue Circus' are studies for these murals. Chagall loved both the theatre and the circus. He had painted several other murals to decorate the Jewish State Theatre in Moscow much earlier in 1919-20. At this time, he had also been involved in a number of theatrical productions, and had designed stage sets and costumes. Later, in New York, Chagall designed sets for both the ballet and the opera, and was commissioned to paint murals to decorate the Metropolitan Opera House.

April 1997