“I had only to open my bedroom window, and blue air, love, and flowers entered with her,” ― Marc Chagall
For Chagall color has an emotional charge, specifically shades of sapphire blue. With a nip of spring in the air, there is no better time to gauge the power of Chagall’s palette than in his sensuous work, The Painter, (Le Peintre) now on view for the first time at the Brooklyn Museum.
This painting is a symphony
of blues with bursts of radiant color evoking the South of France. Here Chagall
portrays the artist at work on the portrait of a couple as he mysteriously
floats above a landscape of flowers with a river and a distant city on a warm
moonlight night. Below a naked figure reclines on the bank while above a great
bouquet of blooming flowers fills the sky.
Chagall made The Painter late in life recalling his
time in Saint-Paul de Vence when he decided to start afresh after a time of
loss. His beloved first wife Bella, the
inspiration behind so many of his works, had died young in 1941 during World
War II. Chagall eventually found solace in his second marriage to Vava Brodsky.
These dual loved ones are possibly evoked here in the recumbent figure, the
tiny ghost behind the easel and the woman the artist paints. The painter touches on many of Chagall’s
favorite themes; the artist’s role, enduring love and the regenerative power of
nature. His floating forms and arbitrary perspective create a dream-like
atmosphere. Time is suspended.
Look closely and you
can see the marks of Chagall’s palette knife, and even the layered brushwork he
used to create a surface alive with energy. Chagall once said that perhaps his
art was that of a lunatic, “a mere glittering quicksilver, a blue soul breaking
in upon my pictures.” Yet, under this exuberance, darker currents flow whether referencing
loss or the passage of time.
Born and trained in Russia
Chagall moved to Paris just before World War I. He developed a lyrical form of
abstraction enriched by impressionistic brushwork. The Painter will make you see why Picasso wrote, “When Matisse dies, Chagall will
be the only painter left who understands what color is.”
“My piece “Augury” will be at Arch Enemy Arts's opening of “Imaginary Menagerie” this Friday! She measures 12” x 20” and was painted with watercolor on paper mounted to a cradled wood panel, and is my depiction of a Banshee. For purchase inquiries, please contact the gallery directly.”
The exhibition, Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic at the Brooklyn Museum, collects over sixty paintings and sculptures by the artist, Kehinde Wiley, portraying African American men and women using some of the stylistic conventions of traditional European portraiture. Wiley endeavors to create a new perspective for the history of art by coopting this traditional style of painting and replacing the dominant white subjects with black male and female figures.
His work is an expression of an age where black urban culture has been looked to, in art and music, as the source for inspiration. Wiley interestingly turns that process on a head by reversing this process and instead coopts their style of the elite to reframe our perception of black male and female figures and the role they play in our history.