Galerie Michael is pleased to present a carefully curated selection of our most exclusive, museum quality works. As the year comes to a close, our team has chosen this select number of masterpieces—arranged by respective artists—to showcase the gallery’s “best ofs.” Galerie Michael is committed to providing our clients with fine art of the highest quality, and we invite you to admire this group of our most extraordinary compositions.

Le Christ au village, 1966 • Marc CHAGALL (1887-1985)

Marc CHAGALL (1887-1985)
Le Christ au village, 1966 

Monotype printed in colors on Japan paper Signed in black ink
Provenance:
Editions Gérald Cramer, Geneva, archive number 1979.631
Exhibition History:
The Museum of Modern Art, “Chagall: Prints, Monotypes, Illustrated Books”
November 22, 1979 – January 28, 1980
Cramer 197
30 1/4 x 22 3/4 in.
Framed Dimensions: 40 5/8 x 36 3/8 in.
914015 

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The luminosity of color in Marc Chagall’s Le Christ au village (1966), which remains thin and translucent, is the most characteristic quality of color monotypes. This is a consistent achievement in the works of Chagall. During the 20th century, most major artists working in monotypes used only black ink. Chagall, however, discovered that the technique was one in which color could be brilliantly utilized. As exemplified in Le Christ au village, monotype is an ideal medium for a painter who can work rapidly and directly without erasures or over-paintings. Driven by his passion for the monotype medium and its process, Chagall yielded a wealth of original pulled prints between 1962 and 1975.

Le Christ au village translates to “Christ in the Village” and captures a narrative scene in mixed perspective. Chagall renders two representations of Christ during different periods of His life. Interpreted from left to right, the first image of Christ shows Him nailed to a cross while floating above houses in the background. Slightly to the right and bottom of the adult Christ, is a figure in profile that largely resembles Chagall himself. He appears to be in prayer as he closes his eyes and bows his head to the ground. Above and slightly to the right of the presumed Chagall is Mary holding Jesus. Like the Chagall figure, Mary and the infant Jesus smile ever so slightly. All of their tranquil facial expressions add an element of serene certainty to the composition. It is noteworthy that Chagall does not place any figure directly on the cen-tral axis of the monotype. Instead, the figures representing Chagall and Jesus as they overlap onto the central axis, but not in their entireties. One of the most striking aspects of the piece is the ambiguous orange oval that is vertical to Chagall’s head. Upon first glance it could re-semble a sun, but looking closer, the image may be interpreted as the head of an animal. The head is shown in profile with one eye gazing toward the viewer as the animal slightly smirks. Due to its oblong head shape, the figure may represent a horse. The bold orange color of the animal’s head in effect lights up the composition as if it were a burning sun. The placement of this floating head at the top of the composition is also striking as Chagall elevates the status of earthly animals to creatures of heaven. Under the circumstances in which Chagall grew up, animals were considered sacred creatures. So much so that families would often invite their farm animal(s) to sleep within the house at night. From a contextual viewpoint, Chagall’s por-trayal of an animal’s head in place of the sun is seemingly a reference to his humble upbring-ing and religious associations. 

Moise et les tables de la loi, 1962 • Marc CHAGALL (1887-1985) 

Marc CHAGALL (1887-1985)
Moise et les tables de la loi, 1962

Mixed media work on Arches paper, hand-painted by the artist A rare and unique proof, hand-painted by the artist on a lithographic touch plate. Created for the exhibition “Chagall et la Bible” at the Rath Museum, Geneva, from June 30 to August 26, 1962. Printed before the lettering, with additional hand-coloring by the artist. Annotated by Charles Sorlier in pencil ‘Épreuve lithographique repeinte par Chagall’, as well as annotated and signed by Sorlier verso, prior to the edition. Printed and published by Charles Sorlier at the Atelier Mourlot, Paris. Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Comité Marc Chagall, n.04.2018.1194.
Mourlot 363
30 11/16 x 22 3/4 in.
Framed Dimensions: 51 1/4 x 43 in.
914794 

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Marc Chagall’s fascination with religion greatly inspires much of his work. Chagall felt a deep connection to his Hasidic heritage and embraces both Christian and Jewish themes in his work. His unification of these two separate religions reminds his viewers of their familiar origins. The visual metaphors he uses to depict his faith reflects his wish to convey a univer-sal message of reconciling of differences. Moise et les tables de la loi translates to “Moses and the Tables of the Law” and depicts the biblical figure Moses receiving the stone Tablets of the Law from God. Here, Chagall blends Cubism with a folk-like style to create a roman-tic world in contrast with the grim everyday life of the Hasidic Jews. In this biblical scene, Moses gazes upward at the hand reaching out from the heavens. The darker shades of the background contrast with the yellow and white hues of Moses, the Tables of the Law, and the hand reaching from heaven. This juxtaposition reveals Moses and the heavens as sym-bols of light amidst the darkness of the human condition. The composition is crowded which skews space and depth and speaks to the chaos of the earthly realm. As a whole, Moses et les tables de la loi invites the viewer to explore how their own vision of faith relates to their personal experiences and biases. Although there are restrictions which surround the pictorial depiction of many religious subjects, Chagall was able to combine his fantasy images and folk style to visually interpret his personal experience with faith.