Friday, November 11, 2011

On loan from Paris

On loan from Paris, the exhibit of Chagall and the Russian Avant-Gard was drawing crowds this blustery grey November day.

Blue Circus
What colour in the Blue Circus and Double Portrait.

I've long been a fan of Chagall but hadn't realized he was a Russian Jew who spoke only Yiddish up until he was 11 years old.  He had not even heard the word for 'art' in his small village of Vitebsk. This was the area that Catherine the Great had confined the Hasidic Jews, and it was rare for anyone to leave.  Higher education here was rare, and money was scarce, but there was a rich tradition of music.

Chagall nostalgically  painted many a fiddler on the roof,  inspiring the image of the film of the same name.

I learned Hasidic translates from the Hebrew as "loving kindness" and as part of the spiritual and mystic tradition God is seen as a spark of goodness living in all things.

Double Portrait with Wine Glass
I love the Double Portrait he created of himself and his wife, Bella.  Such a celebration of light and love.  She was his muse for 29 years, and when she died he couldn't even hold a paintbrush for an entire year.

He did go on to other loves,  dying more 40 years later in St. Paul de Vence when he was 98 years old.

I came across his grave there, not knowing in advance his resting place would be overlooking the countryside in Provence.  Respectfully, I placed a pebble in his honour.

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