TRANSCRIPTIONS OF AUDIO RECORDINGS FROM THE CHAPTER “PARIS”
MICHEL BERGMANN: For a Jewish person like me, Chagall’s paintings evoke particular emotions. If you are somewhat familiar with Jewish mythology, they truly convey a sense of home. If they were books, they would tell us endless stories. They are tender and warmhearted, but they also elicit grief, since the world he shows us no longer exists, and we know how it disappeared. I am able to transfer this to my work as a writer. My “Teilacher"-trilogy deals with this in particular: with my attempt, through writing, to create an imaginary home for myself, in which I bring to life people, episodes, and places from my childhood and youth. Chagall’s work has a fairy-tale-like quality, which takes us back home. For me, home is a specific feeling; a feeling of familiarity, comfort, and warmth. It’s not a specific place, but a state of mind. And it doesn’t necessarily need to be a place from my childhood; it doesn’t even have to be Frankfurt. Language, too, can be a sense of home. Or even just a word — perhaps in dialect — that hasn’t been heard for a long time, that doesn’t fit into the present.
VIKTORIIA VON ROSEN: Chagall belongs to the entire world, and left behind a heritage for the world with his art. In it, he remained true to his Jewish world and origins in Vitebsk in many respects. Chagall spent most of the years of his life in Western countries: in Paris, Berlin, and the United States, but also in cities in the Soviet Union. With his artistic craft, he, however, emphasized characteristics of his homeland around the world. Which picture is special for me? The Dream. Colors were always his instruments. And certain special colors, like this blue, in combination with other different colors, and other objects in this picture, and quite simply wall clocks. My grandparents, for instance, had a similar clock. But what is associated with such clocks? A special feeling. For him, every object was particularly close. And, for me, I don’t see any chaos in this picture, but instead a particular order and a specific feeling, and this feeling is perhaps related to the story of his family, to his surroundings, and to Jewish tradition. He openly spoke about particular things that were important to many migrants who were forced to leave their homeland at that time.
YAN VARASHKEVICH: We are all familiar with the term “nostalgia,” and it isn’t always connected with one city in particular. We have left behind our friends, family, and feelings. While I miss them at times, because of the political situation in Belarus, my friends are already somewhere in Europe or various other countries. In any case, we don’t see each other. And the feeling of being together in Belarus is something that I really miss. And, at the same time, it’s naturally not that easy to be a foreigner. But when you don’t always have to fight against stupid people with power, that’s already something special. And it’s also a phenomenon at the same time: Why do people miss their homeland? Well, I naturally don’t have an answer to this question, but art might be something like assistance or medication against that feeling of nostalgia.
VIVIEN HASHEMI: I think that art is the best medium for processing such an experience, and also for dealing with it personally, because it is possible to channel everything into art, but also to leave out things that one would perhaps like to talk about, or not talk about. And that’s something overarching, hence the fact that I can look at Chagall’s works today and have the feeling that, “I know what he was feeling,” and that both of us have similar feelings, even though we come from different backgrounds and did not have the same experiences. I think that people always leave part of themselves behind when they are forced to flee. Particularly also when you have already gained some experience, fleeing feels as if you are leaving part of yourself behind in another country — especially when you, no matter where you are, paint the city of your birth again and again, and don’t want to let go of it. And I also think that it’s very important that you don’t try to forget your homeland, particularly when you associate war and unpleasant experiences with it as well, when you don’t try to blank it out and simply start a new life — which is something that one naturally also has to do — but you also have to remember your homeland, even if it’s painful, and particularly when you are somewhere else and see what’s happening in your homeland and how painful that can be, because you are no longer there, but still feel the pain nonetheless. And it’s easy for me to imagine that Chagall repeatedly depicted his homeland in his works for this reason.
SOURCES AND PICTURE CREDITS
Marc Chagall: „Why do I always paint Vitebsk? […]“, quoted from: https://www.wienerzeitung.at/nachrichten/kultur/kunst/535319_Kosmos-der-Erinnerungen.html, URL accessed on August 30, 2022.
Marc Chagall: „The earth that nourished the roots of my art was Vitebsk; […]”, quoted from: Ingo F. Walther / Rainer Metzger: Marc Chagall 1887–1985. Malerei als Poesie, Köln 1987, p. 16.
Bella Chagall: „When the clockmaker hears that the heart of a clock is beating too weakly […]“, quoted from: Bella Chagall, Die erste Begegnung, New York 1947, [German edition: Die erste Begegnung, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1973], p. 89.
Marc Chagall: „From my early youth, I was fascinated by the Bible […]“, quoted from: https://de.wikibrief.org/wiki/Marc_Chagall, URL accessed on August 30, 2022.
Marc Chagall: „I lived and worked in America […]“, quoted from: http://www.kunstzitate.de/bildendekunst/kuenstlerueberkunst/chagall_marc.htm, URL accessed on August 30, 2022.
Marc Chagall: „I carry a cross every day […]“, quoted from: Marc Chagall, Poèmes, Genf 1975, p. 66, according to the original, in: Die Goldene Keyt 60 (1967), p. 95; corrected and translated by Ziva Amishai-Maisels, Chagall und der Holocaus, in: Monika Grütters / Georg Heuberger (Ed.), Chagall und Deutschland. Verehrt. Verfemt, München 2004, p. 129.
Bella Chagall: „[…] it is so hard to draw out a fragment of bygone life […]“, quoted from: Bella Chagall, Brennende Lichter, Hamburg 1966, p. 8.
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022 for all shown works by Marc Chagall.
Marc Chagall, Around Her, 1945, Oil on canvas, 131 × 109.5 cm, Centre Pompidou, Paris, Musée national d’art modern / Centre de création industrielle, Gift of the artist, 1953 © bpk / CNAC-MNAM / Philippe Migeat.
Marc Chagall, Madonna of the Village, 1938–1942, Oil on canvas, 102,5 x 98 cm, Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid © Marc Chagall, 2022. VEGAP, Madrid.
Marc Chagall, I and the Village, 1911, Oil on canvas, 192,1 x 151,4 cm, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Foto: Peter Barritt / Alamy Stock Photo.
Marc Chagall, The Black Glove, 1923–1948, Oil, tempera, and colored India ink on canvas, 111 x 81,5 cm, Private collection © Archives Marc et Ida Chagall, Paris.
Marc Chagall, Bonjour Paris, 1939–1942, Oil, pastel, gouache, and India ink on cardboard, 62 x 46 cm, Private collection © Archives Marc et Ida Chagall, Paris.
Marc Chagall, The Dream, 1938/39, Gouache on paper, 39,7 x 49,5 cm, Smart Museum of Art – The University of Chicago, Gift of Lee and Suzanne Huston Ettelson, 1993 © 2022 courtesy of The David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago.
Marc Chagall, Moses spreads the darkness over Egypt, 1931, Study for the Bible, Oil and gouache on paper, 62 x 49 cm, Musée national Marc Chagall, Nice © bpk / RMN – Grand Palais / Engel.
Marc Chagall, Abraham is going to sacrifice his son, 1931, Study for the Bible, Oil and gouache on paper, 62 x 48,5 cm, Musée national Marc Chagall, Nice © bpk / RMN – Grand Palais / Adrien Didierjean.
Marc Chagall, Moses receives the tables of law, 1931, Study for the Bible, Oil and gouache on paper, 61 x 48,5 cm, Musée national Marc Chagall, Nice © bpk / RMN – Grand Palais / Adrien Didierjean.
Marc Chagall, The blessing of Ephraim und Manasseh, 1931, Study for the Bible, Oil and gouache, on paper, 62 x 49 cm, Musée national Marc Chagall, Nice © bpk / RMN – Grand Palais / Adrien Didierjean.
Marc Chagall, The Wailing Wall, 1932, Oil on canvas, 73 x 92 cm, Collection Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Gift of the artist, 1948 © Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
Marc Chagall, Solitude, 1933, Oil on canvas, 102 x 169 cm, Collection Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Gift of the artist, through the State of Israel, 1953 © Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
Marc Chagall, The War, 1943, Oil on canvas, 106 x 76 cm, Centre Pompidou, Paris, Musée national d’art modern / Centre de création industrielle, Gift of the artist, 1953, On deposit at the Musée d’Art Moderne de Céret, France (Céret) © bpk / CNAC-MNAM / Jacqueline Hyde.
Marc Chagall, The Yellow Crucifixion, 1942, Oil on flax canvas, 140 x 101 cm, Centre Pompidou, Paris, Musée national d’art moderne/Centre de création industrielle, Donated in 1988 © bpk / CNAC-MNAM / Philippe Migeat.
The Master of Cardinal de Bourbon, Life and Miracles of St. Louis, circa 1480, Manuscript, Photo: Bibliothèque nationale de France / Gallica.
Cruxifixion with 12 scenes from the Passion of Christ, Tempera on wood, 74,8 х 75,1 cm, 17th century, Museum of the History of Religion, Saint Petersburg, Photo: www.runivers.ru.
Marc Chagall, The Flayed Ox, 1947, Oil on canvas, 100 x 81 cm, Centre Pompidou, Paris, Musée national d’art modern / Centre de création industrielle, Gift of the artist, 1957 © bpk / CNAC-MNAM / Jacques Faujour.
Rembrandt van Rijn, The Flayed Ox, 1655, Oil on wood, 94 x 69 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris, Photo: ConedaKOR, Universität des Saarlandes.
Marc Chagall, The Wedding Candles, 1945, Oil on canvas, 123 x 120 cm, Kunsthaus Zürich, Gift of the Estate of Ernst Göhner, 1973 © 2020, ProLitteris, Zurich.
Marc Chagall, The Soul of the City, 1945, Oil on canvas, 107 x 82 cm, Centre Pompidou, Paris Musée national d’art modern / Centre de création industrielle, Gift of the artist 1953, © bpk | CNAC-MNAM.
Marc Chagall, The Falling Angel, 1923−1933−1947, Oil on canvas, 147,5 x 188,5 cm, Kunstmuseum Basel, deposit from a private collection, 1955, © Kunstmuseum Basel − Martin P. Bühler.
Marc Chagall, Study for „The Falling Angel“, 1934, Oil on cardboard (fiberboard, spanned with canvas, and reinforced with wood), 37,5 x 48,5 cm, Private collection © Archives Marc et Ida Chagall.
Marc Chagall, Study for „The Falling Angel“, 1934, Gouache, India ink and pastel on paper, mounted on cardboard, 49,5 x 63 cm, Private collection © Archives Marc et Ida Chagall, Paris.
Marc Chagall, Study for „The Falling Angel“, 1934, India ink, India ink wash, and gouache on paper, 24,6 x 28,7 cm, Private collection © Archives Marc et Ida Chagall, Paris.
Marc Chagall, Cow with a Parasol, 1946, Oil on canvas, 81,3 x 108 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bequest of Richard S. Zeisler, 2007 © bpk / The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Marc Chagall, Sleigh in the Snow, 1944, Oil on canvas, 44 x 53,5 cm, Private collection © Archives Marc et Ida Chagall, Paris.
View of Vitebsk before its destruction in World War ‖, Photo: Carlo Maggio / Alamy Ltd.
Marc Chagall, 1906/07 © Archives Marc et Ida Chagall, Paris.
View of Paris, circa 1950, Photo: Allan Cash Picture Library/ Alamy Ltd.
Marc Chagall in Paris, ca 1923. On his right “The Studio”, 1910−11; Behind on the wall: Study for “The Drunkard”, 1911 © Archives Marc et Ida Chagall, Paris.
Marc and Bella Chagall, Cranberry Lake, New York 1944, Photo by Sam Shaw © Shaw Family Archives.
View of a street along the city wall of Jerusalem, circa 1930, Photo: Classic Photographics / Alamy Ltd.
Marc Chagall with “Solitude” (originally titled “White Cow”), 1933 © Archives Marc et Ida Chagall, Paris.
Portrait of Marc Chagall, New York, 1941 © Fred Stein Archive.
Marc Chagall in front of “The Falling Angel” in his studio at Villa Montmorency, Paris, 1943, Photo: Thérèse Le Prat © Archives Marc et Ida Chagall, Paris.
Bella Chagall, Year unknown, Photo: Historic Collection/ Alamy Ltd.
View of Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France, Photo: Serhii Koval/ Shutterstock inc.
Video recording of the Park Avenue and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive in New York, circa 1940, Video: Rick Ray/ Shuterstock inc.
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