Marc Chagall Lithographs, Etchings & Aquatints

Marc Chagall was among the most prominent 20th century modern masters artists. Chagall stands out as an artistic genius. Even Pablo Picasso, who had little regard for Chagall’s capricious nature, once commented after the death of Henri Matisse, "There is only one great colorist left and it is Marc Chagall." Though Chagall is classified with the School of Paris more than any other great modernist artist, he never joined a movement, nor can he be associated to any particular "ism", unlike Pablo Picasso. Indeed, Chagall stands out as one of the most original artists of his age. Overall, Chagall’s gemlike primary and secondary colors, combining different techniques, convey a fairytale or fable-like quality. Using a rich memory of images from his village life in native Russia, he was able to construct a mythological world of dreamlike unreality. The pictorial symbols he created both enchant and captivate the viewer’s imagination. His heartfelt recollections of village life, presented in unnatural juxtapositions and magical color, imbue the works with an air of yearning, nostalgia and childlike wonderment. Chagall was a romantic, and his flying figures will forever embody his ideals about love.

No artist is as famous for color lithography as Chagall – an art form he took to the highest level of aesthetic achievement. Working side by side with the great atelier of Paris, the Mourlot Studio, Chagall created graphics that have become as prized by connoisseurs and museums as his paintings. Today, Chagall’s graphic collections stand as one of the greatest bodies of fine print-making in the history of art.

Marc Chagall’s involvement with printmaking dates to 1922 and his return to Berlin after World War I. In the course of trying to recover the paintings he had left behind with Sturm Gallery’s director Herwarth Walden in 1914, Walter Feilchenfeldt, the director of the Cassirer Gallery, offered to publish Marc Chagall’s then recently completed autobiography Mein Leiben (My Life) to be illustrated with etchings. Although the book was never published due to translation problems, a suite of 20 Marc Chagall etchings was created by the artist in the medium of dry-point etching depicting scenes and figures in Chagall’s newly evolved naïve-realistic style. Chagall had never before been introduced to printmaking techniques such as lithography and etchings before this and he fell in love with these processes. Marc then experimented with woodcuts and lithographs. Chagall felt that in these mediums his narrative flair had found its proper expression. Chagall wrote in 1960, "When I held a lithographic stone or a copperplate in my hand I thought I was touching a talisman. It seemed to me that I could put all my joys and sorrows in it. Everything that touched my life through the years, births, deaths, weddings, flowers, animals, birds, the poor workers, my parents, lovers in the night, the biblical prophets, on the street, at home, in the temple and in heaven. And as I grew older, the tragedy of life within us and around us." It is in this sense that Marc Chagall made lithographs and etchings, and they have become the stream that carries the message of his painting into the wide world.

Marc Chagall was 63 years old when he first came to Mourlot in 1950 to study in earnest the technique of color lithography with Charles Sorlier. Already a world famous artist with nothing to prove, Chagall nevertheless worked tirelessly to master the many nuances and subtleties of this demanding medium for his own satisfaction. As the majority of his artworks in lithography were created late in his career the character of the artwork produced took on that of a dialogue between the artist and his earlier inventions, giving his lithographs and etchings the advantage of drawing upon a rich and personal iconography developed over a lifetime. Marc Chagall died on March 28th, 1985 in France.


Marc Chagall Lithographs

Drawings for the Bible

Marc Chagall Lithograph- Drawings for the Bible published by Verve in 1960. This double number of Verve includes the drawings that Marc Chagall made in 1958 and 1959 on Biblical themes that, for the most part, he had not treated in the series of engravings he made to illustrate the Bible.


Marc Chagall Etchings

The Story of Exodus

Marc Chagall Artwork- The Story of Exodus published by Leon Amiel in 1966. This work, containing 24 coloured lithographs, including one double plate, was printed in a format of 500 x 370, in 285 copies, of which 250 on Velin d'Arches paper, numbered from 1-250, 20 copies on Japanese paper, and 15 copies marked A to O, reserved for the artist and this fellow workers.


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