The exhibition sheds light on a highly topical, but little-known side to Marc Chagall – his works from the 1930s and 40s, when his colourful palette took on a darker hue. Chagall is one of the most celebrated of the early European modernist artists: a distinguished painter, graphic artist, stage set designer and producer of decorative arts and crafts. The works of this multi-talented Jewish artist are often described as poetic, dream-like and fantastical, yet they are always closely linked to his own personal experiences. This is particularly noticeable in the works he produced in the 1930s and 1940s.
In the early 1930s, Chagall’s art explored the increasingly aggressive anti-Semitism in Europe. In 1941, he was smuggled out of France and sought refuge in the USA. During these years, his works touch on important contemporary themes, such as identity, homeland and exile, in particular the feeling of loss and nostalgia that he felt for his hometown, Vitebsk, in present-day Belarus.
From the 1930s, the artist focused more and more on the Jewish world and turned towards allegorical and biblical themes.
The exhibition comprises over 50 paintings and works on paper, on loan from several international museums, as well as public and private art collections.
This exhibition gives the public a unique opportunity to experience Chagall as a costume designer, through eight of the costumes he designed for the ballet Aleko (1942) while he was living in exile in the USA.