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Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery presents an exhibition of little known works by Marc Chagall
People visit "The Origins of the Master's Creative Language" exhibition of Marc Chagall`s works at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, on July 10, 2012. The exhibition marks the 125th anniversary of Chagall`s birth. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER NEMENOV.

MOSCOW.- The phenomenon of Chagall’s creativity permanently provokes interest both in Russia and abroad. His canvases, belonging to the Gallery, travel a lot to be exhibited in the countries of Europe and America. And today in its own halls the Tretyakov Gallery exhibits little known Chagall’s drawings, watercolors and gouaches of the period from early Vitebsk sketches to latest Paris collages, and also his etchings – the famous illustrations to the Holy Bible and to La Fontaine’s fables. There are over 150 works presented at the exhibition. Among them - paintings, drawings, sculptures, pieces of applied arts from Russian and foreign museums, as well as from private collections.

Marc Chagall didn’t get professional art education. His main teacher was his natural surrounding – life of Jewish, Russian, Belarusian, Lithuanian and French people. Realistic or fantastic events, reflected by the painter in his works, are always connected with true life and real locations by so called special “Chagall’s passwords”: everyday objects or recognizable signs of the places. You can find those “passwords” everywhere: in his naïve signboards for a barber in Vitebsk and for a milkman in Paris, on the cross of the orthodox church and in chimeras of the Notre Dame, in simple embroidery and on menorahs and Torah, in street musicians and on revolutionary banners.The painter said: “It is not true, that my art is fantastic. I’m realist and I love normal life on the Earth!”

The main part of the exposition is Chagall’s family collection: a series of unique portraits of the members of his family. They were never exhibited in Russia before. This series - “My life” (1922) - is a kind of an illustrative autobiography of the artist. And a natural background, but also an important personage of all his pictures, is his deeply-loved home town Vitebsk.

For the first time Moscow public will see albums of young Chagall from the French archive of Blaise Sandrar - a writer and a poet, but also a friend of Marc Chagall. It was Blez Sandrar, who brought Chagall into the avant-garde circle of artists in Paris. The exhibition also demonstrates the illustrations to Nikolay Gogol’s novel “Dead souls”.

As a part of the program “A Year of French Culture in Russia”, the exhibition emphasizes an international character of Chagall’s works as one the main features of his painting.

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