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Marc Chagall

A major figure in the early twentieth century art world, the Russian artist Marc Chagall, was a great influence on the surrealists.

His very imaginative style presented recognisable images either within unusual surroundings, or free-floating in space. Chagall used strong and bright colours to portray his subjects with a dreamlike simplicity, touched both with humour and with fantasy. His earlier work concentrated on imagery from his village-life upbringing, but in later life his work widely diversified, and he increasingly painted religious subjects.

Chagall was born in Vitebsk in 1887. He studied in St. Petersburg, and came under the influence of Bakst. At the age of 23, he moved to Paris, where he was greatly influenced by the work of the Cubists. On returning to Russia in 1917, he was made Commissar of Fine Arts in the Vitebsk region. After a violent disagreement with the artist Kasimir Malevich, he moved to Moscow and there became the art director for the Moscow Jewish State Theatre, before returning permanently to Paris in 1923, with the exception of a brief stay in America during the Second World War.

Chagall lived to a great age and completed many eminent commissions, including two murals for lobby of the Metroploitan Opera House in New York and the painting of the ceiling of the Paris Opera House.

He died in 1985

Popular prints from this artist