“When Chagall paints, one does not know whether he happens to be asleep or awake. He must have an angel in his head.”
“In our life there is a single color, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love.”
Five things to know about Marc Chagall:
1. He was born, Moyse Segal , one of 9 children in a Hassidic Jewish family living in Russia. His father sold herring and his mother ran a small shop. He had a happy childhood, which features prominently in his art. He changed his name to Marc Chagall, when he moved to Paris in 1910.
2. His work often takes on a dream-like quality. In addition to his childhood memories and fantasies, Chagall was inspired by the great love he had for his first wife Bella, Russian folklife, Jewish and Biblical stories and Soviet politics.
3. He invented his own artistic style, blending influences from Cubism, Fauvism, Surrealism and Expressionism.
4. He is considered a great colorist. Picasso also famously said that ”When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what color really is.”
5. He worked in many mediums: painting, stained glass, theatre sets, costume design and book illustration.
More paintings by Marc Chagall:
I chose to pair the paintings of Marc Chagall with contemporary artist, Dominique Fortin, because the work of both artists share a dream-like quality.
Mixed media on board
48″ X 72″
Like Chagall, whose muse was his beloved wife Bella, Dominique also is inspired by a great love. In her case, her muse is her daughter. Both artists depict animals in a fantasy-like way. Dominique ‘s use of color is not as vibrant as Chagall but she incorporates other media, such as paper scraps and textiles, into her paintings.
Although Chagall’s paintings are often analyzed for hidden meanings, he claimed that “If a symbol should be discovered in a painting of mine, it was not my intention. It is a result I did not seek. It is something that may be found afterwards, and which can be interpreted according to taste.” Dominique, on the other hand, attests to her depiction of butterflies and birds as important symbols of rebirth, growth and change.
Here are more examples of Dominique’s work:
Dominique is represented by several galleries. I spoke with Joanne of the Thompson Landry Gallery, who are having an exhibition of Dominique’s work that opens on May 16. Joanne advised that most of Dominique’s work sells in the range of $2,000 to $5,000. Dominique is popular–a number of her works in the exhibition have been pre-sold, but there are still lovely pieces available.
The more you look, the more you know
The idea behind my column, Art School, is to give people more confidence when purchasing art. It’s true that you really can’t go wrong, if you buy what you love. Still, studying famous artists and works of art from the past does help you recognize emerging talent. With Art School, I will feature 5 things to know about an artist or work of art in art history and suggest a contemporary artist whose work is complimentary.
Photos of Dominique’s work from the Thompson Landry Gallery website. History of Art