All About Marc Chagall

by Jollyon Hooley
(Russia)

The Drunkard

The Drunkard

Marc was born in Russia of a poor Jewish family. In his early life, he was apprenticed to one local artist whose name is not known.


He then moved to St Petersburg where he studied at the Imperial School for the protection of fine arts. He later studied with Leon Bakst but not for very long as they did not seem to get on well.

In 1910 he moved to Paris where he lived at La Ruche—-there were quite a number of other artists habiting, some of them friends of his; Camido, Apollinaire and others.

From 1910 to 1914 was an important part of Chagall’s development. He returned to Russia in 1914 passing through Berlin for his “Der Sturm” exhibition.

After the Russian Revolution in 1917, Chagall was appointed Minister of Fine Arts in Vitebsk and director of the Arts Academy. I think he got a bit bored with his post and mundane art, that he left in 1919.

He then moved to Moscow where he managed to get commissioned work. The work was for the State Jewish Theatre.

Due to the awful political situation he was not liked in many quarters, so he returned to Paris. Except for the period of WW2, he spent time in the USA, then returned to Paris after the war.

The most influence on Chagall was Russian Folk Art, this is evident in his early paintings.

The really big changes he made was his use of color. His usual color was soft greys, cold in tone which he later changed to rich colors and strong hues.

See his surrealistic paintings; “Half Past Three” “Self Portrait with Severn Fingers” is worth studying.

For me, Chagall is a master of surrealism, so his paintings are worth studying.

Jollyon Hooley
April 2016

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