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View from a Window. Vitebsk. 1908

Chagall Marc,
Oil on canvas mounted on cardboard
67 х 58

Private collection, St.Petersburg


This is one of Marc Chagall’s earliest works. The artist’s style and individuality are clearly recognisable even in this early canvas. Chagall’s native city of Vitebsk is depicted simply and true to life. However, the view of the city from the open window and a coloured rainbow over green space give this work the poetic and dreamlike sensibility inherent to Chagall’s work. When he found out, at the end of the 1950s, that Window onto Vitebsk was in Russia in Mikhail Gordeev’s collection, he wrote, “This is the window from my ‘room’ in Vitebsk with a bouquet brought by my Bella” (quote from Petrova, E. N. “Correspondence”. Marc Chagall. Palace Editions, St Petersburg, 2005, p. 34).
It is likely that this work was shown in Petrograd in 1916 at the exhibition Contemporary Russian Painting (No. 24, View from Window).*

* The only exhibitions cited here are the first exhibitions that took place during Chagall’s lifetime and at which the works included in this publication were shown.

Author's Biography

Chagall Marc

Chagall, Marc (Shagal, Mark Zakharovich)
1887, Vitebsk - 1985, St Paul de Vence (France)
Painter, graphic artist. Studied at the Yehuda Pen School in Vitebsk (1906), School of Drawing, Society for the Encouragement of the Arts (1907-08), Seidenberg''s studio, under Mstislav Dobuzhinsky and Leon Bakst at the Elizaveta Zvantseva School of Drawing and Painting (1908-09) and in private studios in Paris (1910-14). Contributed to the exhibitions of the World of Art (1912), Donkey''s Tail (1912), Salon des Independants (1912-14) and Jack of Diamonds (1916). Lived in Vitebsk and Petrograd (from 1915), director of the Vitebsk School of Art. Moved to Moscow (1920) and worked for the Jewish Chamber Theatre. Illustrated Nikolai Gogol''s Dead Souls and La Fontaine''s frobtes for Ambroise Vollard. Designed the sets and costumes for a production of Igor Stravinsky''s ballet The Firebird (1945). Retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern An in New York (1946). Lived in Paris (from 1923), USA (from 1941) and St Paul de Vence (from 1950).

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