Marc Chagall

Marc Chagall (1887-1985), was born in the tiny Russian town of Vitebsk, which he often represented in his paintings. He studied first in St Petersburg, and was encouraged to go to Paris, where he arrived in 1910. He lived in Montmartre, and although at first influenced by Cubism, soon developed his own instantly recognisable surrealistic style. His first major exhibition was in Berlin in 1914, though he returned to his home for the war years, being appointed Commissar of Fine Arts at Vitebsk in 1917. Later he went to Moscow, painting murals for the Jewish Theatre, before finally returning to Paris in 1922. He lived there until forced out by the second world war, which he spent in the United States of America, and went back to Paris in 1947. Not only painting, but also designing stained-glass windows, Chagall spent the last forty years of his life between Venice and Paris: many of his works he gave away, including major paintings to the United Nations, to the Jerusalem Synagogue, and to opera houses in Paris and New York.

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