Image credit Selbstbildnis (Portrait de l‘artiste), 1914 Öl auf Karton, auf Leinwand aufgezogen, 50.5. x 38 cm © Stiftung Im Obersteg, Depositum im Kunstmuseum Basel 2004 / ProLitteris, Zürich
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|Published||October 8, 2017 at 06:36pm|
The breakthrough years, 1911–1919
, Basel, SwitzerlandSaturday September 16, 2017
- Sunday January 21, 2018
Ends in 61 days 20h
Chagall—The Breakthrough Years, 1911–1919 brings Marc Chagall’s early oeuvre into focus. The exhibition was designed around the extraordinary ensemble of outstanding paintings by the French artist in the collections of the Kunstmuseum Basel and the Im Obersteg Foundation.
This exhibition explores the early work of Marc Chagall. His creative breakthrough came at a time when his life was torn between contrasting experiences. Chagall lived in Paris from 1911 until 1914, creating paintings that combined his recollections of Russian provincial life with iconic fragments of the metropolis around him. Reminiscences of Russian folk art make an appearance in his works from the period, as do the most recent stylistic experiments he was exposed to through his life in the center of the artistic avant-garde and his acquaintance with many of the most progressive artists, including Picasso, Robert and Sonja Delaunay, and Jacques Lipchitz. Overtaken by the outbreak of World War I during a visit back home, Chagall was forced to spend the next eight years in Russia.
The unexpected change of circumstances initially prompted a phase of searching self-scrutiny that speaks from many paintings and works on paper created in and after 1914. The artist produced numerous self-portraits, depictions of Jewish life, and designs for the stage setting for the celebration of the first anniversary of the October Revolution that he organized in his role as the commissar for arts and director of the art school in Vitebsk in 1918. We display a representative selection of works from what was for Chagall a period of rapid artistic evolution and personal as well as political upheaval.
The core of the show consists of the extraordinary ensemble of major paintings in the collections of the Kunstmuseum Basel and the Im Obersteg Foundation as well as eminent works on loan from Swiss and international private and public collections. They are complemented by documentary ethnographic photographs the Russian artist Solomon Yudovin took in 1912–1914 during the so-called Gintsburg Expeditions into Russia’s shtetlekh, in an attempt to capture a world constantly endangered by pogroms, political unrest and social dynamics. Yudovin’s photographs preserve the rich traditions of shtetl life that profoundly informed Chagall’s oeuvre.
Marc Chagall (1887–1985) found his way as an artist as his life was torn between two different worlds: his hometown of Vitebsk in Belorussia and Paris, where he lived between 1911 and 1914. The paintings he created during this period combine recollections of Russian provincial life with iconic fragments of the cosmopolitan French capital, incorporating reminiscences of Russian folk art as well as the most recent stylistic experiments he was exposed to through his acquaintance with many of the most progressive artists, including Pablo Picasso, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, and Jacques Lipchitz.
Key works from the Paris years on display in the exhibition include À la Russie, aux ânes et aux autres (1911), which was shown to wide acclaim at the 1912 Salon des Indépendants, and Hommage à Apollinaire (1913), which bears witness to Chagall’s association with the French poet and the Paris avant-garde. The Kunstmuseum Basel also presents numerous paintings and works on paper in which Chagall examined the Jewish shtetl and rural life in his native Belorussia
1911–1919 aesthetics art artist artistic arts artwork author basel breakthrough brush canvas catalogue chagall concept contemporary create creation creative creativity event exhibit exhibition format frame image kunsmuseum marc modern paint painter painting picture style view years