press release

Love and tolerance is the order of the day at the Chagall exhibition this autumn at ARKEN. The over 180 paintings, drawings, lithographs and etchings provide a unique opportunity of getting to know the great Jewish-Russian painter whose poetic pictures bridged cultures and religions. The exhibition is the result of an exceptional collaboration with Chagall’s granddaughter Meret Meyer.

According to Jewish mysticism the world began its existence by God filling beyond breaking point the vessels to hold his light and love. The vessels shattered into millions of pieces. Therefore even the most diminutive things in the world hold a spark of divine love. The ubiquitous love renders everything in existence – and thus in art too – poetic, magical and divine.

Marc Chagall (1897-1985) delivers his message of love when ARKEN in October opens the exhibition “CHAGALL’S WORLD OF LOVE.” The world was far from ideal to the Jewish-Russian painter. However, with a basis in his own cultural roots, his life and his art nonetheless championed the concept that something binds people together, giving them hope: love.

Builder of bridges Chagall believed in love as a universal, divine factor of life. A native of the Jewish ghetto in Belarusian Vitebsk, the desire to become an artist made him immigrate to France in 1911. However, during and after World War I he was forced to return and stay in Vitebsk where he married Bella, the love of his life. In 1924 he travelled back to France and lived there until 1941 when he had to escape to America to avoid the concentration camps. His exile lasted until 1947 when he returned to France, spending the rest of his life there. Only once, in 1973, did Chagall visit his native Russia but he never saw his beloved Vitebsk again.

In spite of sorrows and conflicts Chagall exhibited his joie de vivre and love of the world in his art. ARKEN’s exhibition shows how he bridged a wealth of cultures, religious as well as secular. His works brim with subjects from Vitebsk; biblical scenes from the Old and the New Testament; circus performers and musicians; Jean de la Fontaine’s Fables, Arabian Nights; as well as decorations of synagogues, Catholic churches and various secular institutions.

Facts With more than 180 works spanning all of Chagall’s oeuvre – 48 paintings, gouaches and drawings as well as 135 lithographs, etchings and sculptures – ARKEN offers a comprehensive and exclusive picture of Chagall’s world of love and tolerance.

”CHAGALL’S WORLD OF LOVE” has been mounted by ARKEN in collaboration with Chagall’s granddaughter Meret Meyer. We have secured works for the exhibition from some of the premier museums in Europe and Russia: Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), Musée national Message Biblique (Nice), Sprengel Museum Hannover and State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow). Moreover a large number of major works are on loan from private collections. The exhibition will be shown at ARKEN only.


Marc Chagall