Filed under: Art
A new exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia explores the legacy of Marc Chagall and his artist compatriots. "Paris Through the Window: Marc Chagall and His Circle" runs from March 1 to July 10 and focuses on the work of Chagall and others in Paris in the early 1900s.
Chagall arrived in Paris in 1911 and was immersed in the artistic styles flowering in Paris at this time. He worked at La Ruche, a beehive-like building that was home to a variety of artists' studios. French sculptor Alfred Boucher opened the building in 1902 offering inexpensive space and free models for talented artists. It blossomed into a vibrant community for artists to exhibit work and share ideas. When Chagall joined La Ruche it already had many Eastern European artists who had also moved to Paris to discover firsthand the most recent trends in modern art. Other artists there in the 1910s included Archipenko, Kisling, Lipchitz, Soutine, and Zadkine, who were represented in the exhibition by two sculptures in cedar wood that have not been displayed at the Museum since 1963. Shown above is Chagall's "Paris Through The Window" which was painted in 1913. The exhibit seeks to capture the atmosphere of artistic excitement in Paris at this time and also explores a bit of history, looking back to at Chagall's return to Russia during World War I and the rise of the Russian Revolution and his second stay in Paris in the 1920s.
The museum website has a series of podcasts devoted to the exhibit which offer a comprehensive roadmap to all that is going on in a Chagall painting. For example, in the painting shown above, the artist's double-faced self-portrait in the lower right hand corner is a representation of the two sides of his spirit, looking back toward his homeland but also forward toward Paris, Cubism and a world of changing ideas and ideals.