Marc Chagall, Fleurs et Amoureux (Flowers and Love), 1960. Oil on canvas, Private Collection (sold : Sotheby’s, New York, 9th May 2002, lot 218).

Authentication:

  • The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by the Comité Chagall.

Provenance:

  • Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York
  • H. Golding, Palm Beach
  • Private Collection (sold : Sotheby’s, New York, 9th May 2002, lot 218)
  • Exhibited:

    • Tokyo, Odakyu Museum;
    • Himeji, Prefect Museum;
    • Tsu, Prefect Art Museum and
    • Yamaguchi, Prefect Art Museum, Marc Chagall, 1992, no. 86

    Sotheby’s – Catalogue Note:

    “The rigour of this painter’s composition lies in his freedom” (Extract from ‘Chagall l’admirable’, Louis Aragon, Derrière le miroir, no. 198, mai 1972). In contrast to many of his compositions, which often mix an array of animals, people and landscapes, Fleurs et Amoureux is a united composition, expressing a single narrative. While the large vase of flowers dominates the centre of the picture, several other objects rest on the same table: a bowl of fruit, wine carafe, and glass. The pair of lovers appear to have just been sitting at the table. In the middle ground, a cityscape stretches across the entire width of the painting, capped by a setting sun and a rising moon in the upper left. At the top of the picture, crowning the flowers, is a white dove.

    Susan Compton write, “When he was younger, Chagall disliked being told that his art was literary or even poetic, he wanted to suppress narration in favour of expression… through his paintings Chagall introduces human beings, who may be arranged in an illogical manner, but who are constant reminders that art is above all a celebration of humanity” (Chagall, (exhibition catalogue), London, 1985, p. 242).

    Fleurs et Amoureux recalls this desire to celebrate the human being and romantic love, from the couple locked in a passionate embrace, to the composition’s intense red, almost purple colouring, to the bouquet of flowers which were for Chagall a “metaphor of pleasure” according to André Breton. The dove dominating the scene may symbolize the newly found peace after meeting Valentine Brodsky, whom he married in 1952 shortly after his separation with Virginia. Through this painting Chagall conveys his pictorial universe, reflecting his emotions and his happiness.

    “Tomorrow the bird will come down on earth
    On the steppingstone of peace
    The violins will have delivered their bouquet
    And dream of the harvest
    The day is a perfumed orange
    Its slices of sun and pure air create the joy
    Of the lovers aware of their laziness
    The game consists of being happy”
    (Paul Eluard, ‘Marc Chagall’, Peintures 1942-1945, 1947).

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