Chagall art promises a £1.8m 'Revolution' at Bonhams

A masterpiece by Marc Chagall rarely before seen in public is to headline the Impressionist and Modern Art auction at Bonhams on Tuesday, June 22, and is estimated to fetch £1.2m-£1.8m.

Marc Chagall (1887-1985) was one of the foremost artists of the twentieth century - a pioneer of modernism whose haunting yet exuberant works are also quintessentially Jewish. 

Born in Russia, he spent most of his life in France and in his works can be seen a merging of his Jewish heritage, his Russian background and the influence of the modern artistic trends he encountered while living in Paris.

"When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what colour really is" - Pablo Picasso

This large painting titled 'La Revolution' shows elements of the Russian war of 1917 which affected him deeply, together with the Spanish war of 1936-37. Soldiers and chaos on the left hand side contrast with icons of everyday life and joy on the right. 

Many of Chagall's recognisable trademarks such as the married couple and the goat are evident in this unique piece. 

Jackie Wullschläger notes in her biography of Chagall that he never strayed far from his "triple fixations" - Judaism, Russia and love - all of which are present in this work.  

It was initially considered to have been painted in 1937, but recent research by the Comité Chagall suggests that the date is 1968, due to similarities in the characters, colour and composition with works of that time, such as 'La Guerre' (1966).

Marc Chagall's La Revolution 1968, priced £1.2m-£1.8m.

They propose that the title should be 'La Revolution 1968'. The painting was cherished by the artist, who kept it at his house in Saint-Paul de Vence in France until his death in 1985.

The Comité Chagall have emphasised the importance the artist placed on the work - he considered it to be representative of his life, and thus it is very important in the artist's oeuvre. It was never exhibited or shown to the public during his lifetime making this a unique discovery.

"It's a privilege for Bonhams to be offering this work so rich in its subject matter and colour, highly esteemed by its creator and in such excellent condition," said Edward Plackett, of Bonhams Impressionist and Modern Art Department.

As a pioneer of modernism, Chagall created some of the best-known paintings of our time - and another is available on the market as a perfect entry-level investment for collectors.

A superb print by "the quintessential Jewish artist of the twentieth century," featuring a colourful woman dancing and signed by the artist himself, is available to collectors valued at £895 ($1,475).


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