Marc Chagall biography in Biographies from the artzine on artrepublic.com
Marc Zakharovich Chagall was a Russian-French Painter, lithographer, etcher and designer best known for his dreamlike paintings such as La Mariée (the Bride) that featured in the 1999 film Notting Hill. He was inspired by the Hasidic Jewish tradition and bible stories as well as his experiences growing up as a child in Russia.
Russian born ‘Marc Chagall’ was born on July 7, 1887, in Vitebsk, Belarus. Here he was raised in a devoutly Jewish family alongside his eight other siblings. His first artistic instruction was under Penn, a local painter, then spent 1907-10 in St Petersburg, where he entered the Imperial School for the Protection of the Fine Arts, and later studied under ‘Leon Bakst’, a Russian painter and designer of elaborate scenes and exotic costumes within theatres and ballets.
Marc Chagall travelled to Paris in 1910 where he resided for four years. He moved to a studio in La Ruche (the beehive), a Bohemian area on the outskirts of Paris. It was in Paris that his encounters and friendships evolved with various avant-garde artists and writers which influenced him greatly. With such companions as Guillaume Apollinaire, Robert Delaunay, Fernand Leger and Amedeo Modigliani, experimentation was always encouraged within such artistic company. During this time, he came under the influence of the impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Fauvist pictures he saw in Paris museums, and was introduced to Fauvism and Cubism. Cubism was an inspiration to Chagall though his works differed in his love for fantasy.
In 1914 he left Paris to return to Russia during the Revolution and worked for the party in his home town of Vitebsk and in Moscow. He married his first wife ‘Bella Rosenfeld’ in 1915 and would stay married to her until her death in 1944. After his marriage to Bella, lovers and romance became a recurring theme within his paintings. Chagall's paintings show elements of Cubism and use strong colours and imagery.
After the war, appointed Fine Arts Commissar for the province of Vitebsk he directed an art academy. Eventully in 1923 he returned to Paris and in 1937 he became a French Citizen. Though he was forced to leave France, subsequently relocating to the USA with the outbreak of WWII, here he resided as a refugee from 1914 to 1947. Chagall Returned to south-eastern France in 1948 and settled in the picturesque hill-top village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence in 1950, where he continued his life’s works. He married once again in 1952, his bride was ‘Valentina Brodsky’. His later works included a new ceiling painting for the Paris Opéra and, from 1957 a number of commissions for stained glass. He died in 1985.