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Marc Chagall - (1887 - 1985)

Paradise - 1960

The Tree Of Knowledge  —  Mourlot N° 232

This is the original lithograph from Chagall's Bible Series series, as referenced in Mourlots catalogue raisonné.

Dimensions - 370mm x 270mm - Certificate of Authentication

On the reverse: another original lithograph, plain (Mourlot N° 255)
Biblical reference: Gen. 2, 4-15

Sales Price C$1,500

Paradise. Original color lithograph, 1960. 50 signed and numbered impressions plus 6500 unsigned impressions for Verve. Early commentators suggested that before the Fall, Adam and Eve were truly one flesh, separate but joined.


In this lithograph, Chagall depicted the biblical theme of the fall of man. Adam and Eve are resting under the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They are "one flesh" (Genesis 2,24), that is they became one. This implies that they belong together. In Hebrew, they are called "Adam and Adamah": Man and woman, on a par with each other. But they rebel against God, their creator, they want to be like him. By doing so, they put themselves in his place and this is their real blame. In this work, Eve grabs one of the forbidden fruits which shine nice and red. The greening tree is full of them, and just one less won't be noticeable...? Adam is still asleep, just like he is not "awake" when he takes the fruit from Eve and bites into it. He does not become aware of the consequences of their doing.

The waxing moon shines mysteriously in the upper left-hand corner. In the right-hand corner, we can see a winged creature with a human face. Paradise has lost its blaze of colours, and only the tree of knowledge of good and evil shines in a promising green.


In 1956, the French art critic and publisher Tériade brought out a special issue of the legendary art magazine Verve, which was exclusively devoted to one of Marc Chagall's major themes: The Bible. For this outstanding issue, Chagall composed 18 full-page colour lithographs and 12 in black and white. For his "Bible I" Marc Chagall focused on characters from the Old Testament such as the Founding Fathers, the Kings, the Prophets and Angels. Four years later, in 1960, the follow-up issue "Illustrations for The Bible" was published, with another 24 gorgeous color lithographs. Artist's Home

Chagall is one of the most successful artists of the twentieth century.  He came from a large and devout Jewish family.  Born in the small Russian town of Vitebsk, Chagall studied art in St. Petersburg and Paris.  In 1923, Chagall fled the Soviet Union and settled in France where he began working with the Parisian art dealer and publisher Ambroise Vollard.  

Chagall’s approach to the Bible is one that focuses on the intense encounters between God and humanity.  Each image tells the story plainly and poignantly.  Curator Jean Bloch Rosensaft, of the Jewish Museum in New York notes that the series “brings together the mature artist’s spirituality and childhood’s fantasy through the sophisticated artistry of the master
printmaker.” By FCMOA


"Ever since my earliest youth I have been fascinated by the Bible. I have always believed that it is the greatest source of poetry of all time...The Bible is an echo of nature, and this I have endeavored to transmit.... In art everything is possible, so long as it is based on love." Chagall