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Marc Chagall (1887 - 1985)

Zirkus Poster (Exhibition at Galerie Lochte) 1976
Medium Offset lithographic poster
Size 24 7/8" x 17 3/8"

Signed in black pencil at lower right on image

Condition Excellent
Other Notes For a 1976 exhibition at Galerie Lochte, Germany



“It is a magic word, circus, a timeless dancing game of tears and smiles.” Since childhood, Chagall had been fascinated by the circus and theatre. In the early 1920s Chagall designed costumes, sets and murals that expressed Russia’s new social, political and religious freedoms. In subsequent decades he returned repeatedly to the theme of the circus for inspiration. “For me, a circus is a magic show, disturbing, profound. I have always looked upon clowns, acrobats and actors as beings with a tragic humanity.” Yet Chagall’s circus animals and figures seem to mirror life’s sorrows and its joys, as they float in a fantastical world of colours that glow like stained glass" AGO


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 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 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 and became very enamored with them, trying his hand with woodcuts and lithography, too. He felt that in these mediums his narrative flair had found its proper expression. Chagall wrote in 1960, "Since I started using a pencil, I have sought for this certain something that could spread like a stream toward unknown and alluring shores." And again, "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 Chagall did lithographs, and they have become the stream that carries the message of his painting into the wide world.

Fortuitously, it was a printmaking commission that brought Chagall back to Paris in 1923. The famous dealer and editor, Ambroise Vollard, invited him to do some book illustrations and the artist requested the book be the Russian author Gogol's the Dead Souls. So it was that Chagall engraved 107 etchings on this theme in the course of only two years. Although in style they are related to the Mein Leiben dry-points, their technique is obviously more elaborate and refined. Indicative of how the various creative mediums are related, the artist found that in the process of developing engraved imagery to illustrate Gogol he was able to revive his own Russian themes. As he had been longing to surround himself with the paintings he had lost in the course of WWI and his sojourn in Russia, he seized upon this inspiration to reconstruct many of his earlier missing canvasses. Other themes also evolved that were connected to his more recent Moscow theatre and mural experience. After his return Chagall viewed Paris and the French countryside with fresh eyes and this too was reflected in his paintings. His colors, moderated by the special light of Provence, became more delicate although still laid on richly and spontaneously. He began to paint both the French landscape and floral bouquets accompanied by loving couples, musicians and animals-often depicted around the edges of the composition like poetic interpolations. These themes would continue to pervade his mature work through the end of his career....
Weinstein Gallery - James Healy


Other works we have for sale, by Marc Chagall:

Tamar Daughter-in-Law of Judah from The Bible Series, 1960

Derrière le miroir n° 198

Paradise 1

from The Bible Series, 1960


Exhortation Of Joshua




from The Bible Series, 1960

Hagar and Ishmael in the Desert

from The Bible Series, 1960

Spirit of the Circus

L'ame Du Cirque


Daphnis & Chloe
Chagall Poster Rider on a Red Horse

Adam and Eve are Banished From Paradise

from The Bible Series, 1960

Flute Player

"Le Joueur de Flute"

Derrière le miroir n° 182

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