Marc Chagall was born in Russia in 1887 and started studying art in St. Petersburg. From 1910-14 he lived in Paris where he studied the works of leading Cubist, Surrealist and Fauvist painters. He became intimate with the Avant-Garade circle. From 1918-19 he was director of the Art Academy in Vitsyebsk and then became art director of the Moscow Jewish State Theatre. Here he painted several murals in the theatre lobby and executed sets for several productions. During World War II Chagall lived briefly in the US and in 1923, moved to France.
Chagall’s distinctive use of colour and form derived partly from Russian Expressionism with French Cubist influences. He paints from vivid recollections of Russian Jewish village scenes, incidents in his private life and Jewish folklore. He uses strong, bright colours to portray the world with non-realistic simplicity and surreal inventiveness. This fusion of fantasy, religion and nostalgia filled his work with a child-like quality.
Chagall experimented with other forms of art including ceramics, mosaics, tapestries, stained glass and stage sets. Among his most famous building decorations are the ceiling of the Paris Opera House, two murals in the lobby of the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, a glass window at the United Nations in New York and decorations at the Vatican.
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