All the colours of the rainbow in the creations of poet-painter Marc Chagall

“My hands were too soft. I had to find some special occupation, some kind of work that would not force me to turn away from the sky and the stars, that would allow me to discover the meaning of life.”


Noe et l’ Arc-en-ciel       Musee National Marc Chagall, Nice


Le Paradis     Musee National Marc Chagall, Nice


I took these photographs in the Musee National Marc Chagall in Nice. This gallery has to be one of the finest little galleries in the world: the setting, the building and the art fusing in dreamy synergy that captures the humanity, joyousness, and all round good spirits of Marc Chagall. He was a man who created in all media. He saw his work  “not the dream of one people but of all humanity”.

Or as André Breton put it, “under his sole impulse, metaphor made its triumphal entry into modern painting.”

And then there is his use of colour. Picasso probably has the last word on that: “When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what colour really is.”

Marc Chagall (1887-1985)


33 thoughts on “All the colours of the rainbow in the creations of poet-painter Marc Chagall

  1. Excellent! Nice that they allow photography in the gallery too – some places (like the Tate) don’t. I could have used a great Op-art image by Bridget Riley for the challenge 🙂

  2. I saw the Chagall stained glass windows (how in Jerusalem) when they were on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York before they went to their home in Israel. Wow. It is the only art exhibit for which I ever stood in line.

    1. Yes, he is definitely an artist worth standing in line for. In Nice, though, there was no queuing at all – just perfect tranquillity, and a handful of happy visitors, and a very lovely café in the garden.

  3. It is magic, how a colour combination can stir emotion. These two pieces did it for me. Tempted to be corny and say Nice, but won’t. Reminds me of the color of the Rose wine we had last night.

    1. Glad you liked these, Bill. I love the humour. Also I think Chagall was pretty much only concerned with emotion. So I’m sure he would be very happy to be thought of together with rose wine. Also the favourite tipple of Nice. So all is nice in Nice. Why not be corny 🙂

      1. My 7-year-old just asked me if emotions are options and I said not really, but good question.

  4. This is exquisite Tish. I can’t think of a better choice for this challenge. If I go to Nice again, I will make sure to visit that gallery.

  5. Your words are poetry Tish and I love this “fusing in dreamy synergy that captures the humanity, joyousness, and all round good spirits of Marc Chagall” Great interpretation of this weeks challenge

      1. Chance would be a fine thing…
        I assume then that these two paintings were part of that brief and these two were ‘telling part of the story’ much like pub signs did when few people could read?
        Thanks Tish.

    1. No sadly we missed the Chapelle. In fact I don’t think we knew about it until after our visit. We went here:
      Then we walked down the hill to the Chagall Museum. I love small and intimate galleries such as these i.e. that don’t involve V & A -type route marches, and with all the light shut out from exhibits when you eventually find them. And while, as an ex-museum person, I know I should see the purpose of such conservation measures, a lot of the time I actually don’t. The French seem to have a more balanced approach to such matters – so you still get a good dose of joy, along with any awe.

      1. Matisse museum looks charming. Yes, it is nice to be in a smaller more relaxed atmosphere. That’s one of the reasons I very much like an art gallery about 3 hours south of Christchurch. It’s in an old house, with each room having fabulous views; just love spending time there.

      2. That sounds lovely. Big museums can be such stolid, spiritless places. But something special happens when works are allowed to resonate in a more personal space.

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