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On bank holiday Monday I visited the Chagall: Modern Master exhibition at Tate Liverpool. Chagall’s art is owned by many different galleries and museums throughout Europe and the US, and it is the first collective exhibition of his work in 15 years.

Born Moyshe Shagal in Vitebsk, Russia (now Belarus) in 1887, Marc Chagall’s art was steeped in Russian folklore and Hasidic tradition, even after he had arrived in Paris and was drawn to cubism. As well as his associations with cubism and fauvism, he has connections with der Blaue Reiter and German Expressionism.

Chagall is as equally famed for his impressive murals, theatre sets and beautiful stained glass as he is for his paintings. All Saints Church in Tudeley, Kent, has a complete set of stained glass windows by Chagall, the only set in the UK.

One of my favourite paintings in the exhibit is the Grey House, or La Maison Grise (1917) (inspired by Vitebsk), which you can see here: http://www.museothyssen.org/en/thyssen/ficha_obra/445. I am also very drawn to Le Saltimbanques dans la Nuit (1957), which translates literally as Clowns at Night (I believe this is privately owned.) The circus was a recurring theme in his work.

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{Accompanying guidebook, included in ticket price}

As photographs were not allowed, I have included some images from the guidebook.

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{Probably Chagall’s most famous work: I and the Village (1911), which is owned by MoMA)}

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{Performance of Mazel Tov at the State Jewish Chamber Theatre, Moscow in 1921. Costumes and décor by Marc Chagall.
I can’t believe how much this looks like the Cabinet of Dr Caligari!}

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{This is a photograph of a postcard I purchased in the gift shop. It is entitled Paris Through the Window (1913) and can usually be found at the Guggenheim in New York}

Vivid, expressive and vivacious, Chagall’s work continues to charm and delight, despite the criticisms that he brought little to the art history table.

On a wall in Tate Liverpool, a quote by Picasso summarises the exhibition effectively: “When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what colour really is.”

Tickets for the exhibition cost £10 for an adult and can be viewed until 6th October 2013.

Tate Liverpool is open daily
http://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-liverpool

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