Classroom Use of the Art Print: Marc Chagall (Russian-Born; 1887-1985). Birthday (L'Anniversarie), 1915. Oil on Cardboard; 31 3/4" X 39 1/4". the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired by the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest

Arts & Activities, April 2007 | Go to article overview

Classroom Use of the Art Print: Marc Chagall (Russian-Born; 1887-1985). Birthday (L'Anniversarie), 1915. Oil on Cardboard; 31 3/4" X 39 1/4". the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired by the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest


THINGS TO LEARN

* Marc Chagall was born Moishe Segal in Belarus on July 7, 1887. He was the eldest child in a devout Jewish family. He left his hometown of Vitebsk in 1910 and relocated to Paris, where he quickly became part of the avant-garde of artists working there in the first part of the 20th century. Chagall returned to Vitebsk in 1914 and married Bella, who would be his wife and muse for the next 30 years. This month's Clip & Save Art Print features the young couple during their first year of marriage.

* While in Paris, Chagall was exposed to many revolutionary ideas and styles. He was influenced early by the Cubism of Picasso, and by Henri Matisse and the Fauves. Chagall's work from this period is clearly a synthesis of both Picasso's shifting planes and multiple viewpoints, with Matisse's use of arbitrary color.

* Like many artists, Chagall had a personal iconography that is identifiable in his works. Common images that appear in Chagall's work are: goats, cows, fiddlers, floating people, flowers, candlesticks, angels, flying fish, human-faced cats, circus performers, windows, and the Eiffel Tower, to name only a small handful of his recurring imagery. Red, blue and green are colors that Chagall commonly used.

* After World War I, Chagall moved back to Paris with Bella and their daughter, Ida. They stayed in France until it was no longer safe for a Jewish family to live in Europe. In 1941, the Chagalls moved to the United States. Sadly, in 1944, Bella died.

* Chagall's subject matter is often associated with his childhood home. Both of his wives--Bella and then Valentine--were muses to the painter, appearing over and over again in his work. His paintings have a magical, dreamlike quality. His work is sometimes described as "fantasy art."

* Birthday, this month's Clip & Save Art Print, is one of Chagall's most famous and beloved paintings. A small selection of other important works are: I and the Village (1911-12); The Praying Jew (1913); Above the Town (1915); Paris Through the Window (1913); Self-Portrait with Seven Fingers (1913); The Green Violinist (1918); Midsummer Night's Dream (1939); Mauve Nude with Double Head (1950); The Blue Circus (1950); and The Prodigal Son (1975-76).

* After World War II, Chagall returned to France. He met Valentine and married her in 1952. He remained a resident of France until his death in 1985.

* Chagall was a versatile artist. In addition to painting, he created works on paper (drawings and lithographs in particular), ceramics, sculpture, stained glass, mosaics, tapestries, stage sets and poetry.

* Toward the latter part of his career, Chagall focused his attention on public works of art. He received many high-profile commissions, including the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center (New York City), the Paris Opera House, the Synagogue of the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, and the United Nations headquarters in New York City. He also designed the stained glass windows for the Rockefeller family's Union Church in Pocantico Hills, N.Y.

THINGS TO DO

* Primary. All children will be able to relate to the celebratory and joyous spirit of this month's Clip & Save selection. …

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Classroom Use of the Art Print: Marc Chagall (Russian-Born; 1887-1985). Birthday (L'Anniversarie), 1915. Oil on Cardboard; 31 3/4" X 39 1/4". the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired by the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest
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