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Marc Chagall

The latest exhibit to find its home on the fifth floor of SFMOMA is a career retrospective of modern artist Marc Chagall's work. This 153-piece collection spans Chagall's life and clearly illustrates the artist's reluctance to follow any avant-garde style, despite incorporating several styles from movements in the various locales in which he lived.

Chagall was educated in art in Saint Petersburg and then Paris. When he returned to Russia and began working, he found a middle ground between being a Russian Jew and being on the cutting edge of Parisian avant-garde art. Many of his pieces from this period illustrate Chagall's idea that the artist is a messenger, almost Biblical in nature. His paintings showcase a completely original combination of fantasy, humor, color, symbolism, and simplicity unseen in any other modern artist.

In 1924 Chagall returned to France. This time, he concentrated on being French and created art that explored his new home and the nature of its people. He also did illustrations for French poets and for the reproductions of several of France's classical works of literature. Also of note from this period of Chagall's career are a number of biblical paintings, extremely colorful in nature and infused with the same sort of "artist as a messenger" symbolism that we saw him exploring earlier in his career.

After 16 years in France, Chagall moved to and was in turn amazed by the grandiosity of New York City, which he called Babylon. During this time he was commissioned to do a number of murals around New York while he continued to produce paintings. His wife of many years died during this time, and when he moved to France just afterwards, his paintings became full of symbolic and literal references to the woman with whom he'd spent most of his life. Chagall died in St. Paul de Vence, France, in 1985.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will be the only venue not in Paris to showcase this amazing collection of Marc Chagall's work. If you're at all interested in the artist and his work, and you're <i>not</i> traveling to Paris in the next year, this event is not to be missed.

Marc Chagall
At <a href="/business.php?blId=350">SFMOMA</a>
Exhibition runs: July 26 - November 4

151 Third St., between Mission & Howard, SF
Hours: Friday - Tuesday (11 am - 6 pm), Thursday (11 am - 9 pm)
Tel: 415.357.4000
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