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Marc Chagall | Le Cirque

Marc Chagall’s fascination with the circus began at a young age, when travelling acrobats, dancers and musicians visited his hometown of Vitebsk in pre-revolutionary Russia.
In his later years in Paris, the artist regularly attended the Cirque d'Hiver with the art dealer and publisher Ambroise Vollard.
Vollard encouraged the pastime in the hope that Chagall would be inspired to create an illustrated book on the subject.

Though following Vollard's suggestion the artist completed a series of gouache studies on the theme of the circus in the late 1920s, several decades passed before he completed the book, which was ultimately published by Editions Tériade in 1967.
'The result', Chagall's master printer and collaborator, Charles Sorlier describes, is 'an outstanding set of plates'.
Indeed, the subject of the circus complied perfectly with the great modernist’s most celebrated traits - in these images Chagall’s brushwork is uncontrived, his colouring vibrant, and his imagery whimsical, singular and exuberant. | © Sotheby's

"Per me il circo è uno spettacolo magico che passa e scompare come un mondo. I clown, le cavallerizze, gli acrobati fanno parte del mio immaginario perché i loro colori e le loro maschere mi trasportano verso altre deformazioni psichiche che sogno di dipingere" - Marc Chagall (1887-1985)