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Marc Chagall

(1887 - 1985)

Flute Player - Le Joueur de Flute (1957)

Original lithograph, signed in pencil by the artist, realized for the book "Chagall" by Jacques Lassaigne.

Size 15.17 x 22.46 inches / 38.5 x 57 cm

Lithograph in colors on Arches

Publisher: Maeght

Signed and numbered in pencil by the artist at lower right
Edition Number: 9/90

Catalogue Raisonné: 197 Author: Mourlot

Sales Price C$6,900


A woman with flowing hair, on her side, plays a conical pipe with the characteristic beak of a duct-flute; a window/labium is hinted at; three finger-holes are visible; and the thumb of the uppermost hand seems well angled for recorder . A cello floats above her, and above that a bird. In the distance are some houses. Recorder Iconography


The Pied Piper of Hamelin (German: Rattenfänger von Hameln) is the subject of a legend concerning the departure or death of a great many children from the town of Hamelin (Hameln), Lower Saxony, Germany, in the Middle Ages. The earliest references describe a piper, dressed in multicolored clothing, leading the children away from the town never to return. In the 16th century the story was expanded into a full narrative, in which the piper is a rat-catcher hired by the town to lure rats away with his magic pipe. When the citizenry refuses to pay for this service, he retaliates by turning his magic on their children, leading them away as he had the rats. This version of the story spread as a fairy tale. This version has also appeared in the writings of, among others, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the Brothers Grimm and Robert Browning.

The story may reflect a historical event in which Hamelin lost its children. Theories have been proposed suggesting that the Pied Piper is a symbol of the children's death by plague or catastrophe. Other theories liken him to figures like Nicholas of Cologne, who is said to have lured away a great number of children on a disastrous Children's Crusade. A recent theory ties the departure of Hamelin's children to the Ostsiedlung, in which a number of Germans left their homes to colonize Eastern Europe. It is also a story about paying those who are due. Wikipedia

Also see:  The Pied Piper of Hamelin he Pied Piper of Hamelin by Robert Browning

The auditory overtone of this MARC CHAGALL print is made immediately apparent by its title and imagery. The formal composition allows for a very near foreground as well as a background, with the represented activity taking place solely in the foreground. The resulting implication is a continuity of this activity occurring within the implied distance of the composition. Furthermore, the separation of space enables the viewer to delegate locality to various aspects of the work, such as the figure at lower right, which would otherwise seem arbitrarily enmeshed. The fiddle, ornithological creature, village, and reveler are all commonly used imagery in Chagall’s work, normally seen in tandem, as they are here.



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