Introduction

Marc Chagall (1887–1985) is one of the best known and most admired artists of the twentieth century. This exhibition begins with Chagall’s emergence as an artist in his nativeVitebskand his training inSt Petersburg, before looking at three crucial years spent in Paris(1911–14) and the subsequent period passed in his native Russia (1914–22). During these years Chagall established himself as a pioneer of modern art, and consolidated a unique visual language that would endure for the remainder of his artistic life.

Suffused with imagery drawn from Jewish ritual and folk art, Chagall’s work of this time responded to the stimuli of the emerging avant-garde as well as to the art of the past. In Paris, Chagall experienced modernism’s ‘golden age’, and combined elements of fauvism, cubism and orphism to produce dreamlike visions that in turn were to influence expressionist and surrealist art. On his return to Russia, Chagall encountered the prevailing artistic trends of suprematism and constructivism. Although he acknowledged their importance, and incorporated aspects of both into his art, he never subscribed to the idea of rejecting all reference to the physical world in favour of a language of geometric forms.

The first major presentation of Chagall’s paintings in the United Kingdom for fifteen years, this exhibition is a rare opportunity to see a substantial body of work that demonstrates the depth and diversity of Chagall’s art.

Chagall: Modern Master is organised by Tate Liverpool in collaboration with Kunsthaus Zürich. The exhibition at Tate Liverpool is curated by Simonetta Fraquelli, an independent curator, with Gavin Delahunty, Head of Exhibitions and Displays, Tate Liverpool and Stephanie Straine, Assistant Curator.

If you would like further information about any of the artworks in the exhibition please ask a member of staff – they are more than willing to answer or find answers to your questions.