Auction 69 Part 2
Dec 3, 2019 (Your local time)
 8 Ramban St, Jerusalem.
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LOT 221:

"The Art of Marc Chagall" – The First Monograph on Marc Chagall – Moscow, 1918

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Sold for: $500
Start price:
$ 500
Auction house commission: 23%
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Искусство Марка Шагала [The Art of Marc Chagall], by Yakov Tugendkhold (Тугендхольд) and Abram Efros (Эфрос). Moscow: Геликон (Gelikon), 1918. First Edition. Russian.
The first published monograph on Marc Chagall. The book contains reproductions of his works, some on tipped-in plates and some in the text. An edition of 850 copies; this copy is not numbered. Publisher's logo designed by El Lissitzky.
51, [5] pp + [13] plates, 28.5 cm. Hardbound, with the original front paper cover (designed by Chagall). The back cover is missing. Body in good overall condition. Stains, blemishes and small tears. One of the plates is detached. The front cover is detached. The binding is torn at its edges and partly detached. Bookplate on the inside front binding.


Marc Chagall (1887-1985), a Russian-French artist, is considered by many the greatest Jewish modern painter. Chagall was born to a Hassidic family in Liozna (then in Belarus), the eldest of nine siblings. When his mother asked his first art teacher, the painter Yehuda Pen, whether her son could earn a living from painting, Pen looked at Chagall's sketches and told her: "Yes, he has some ability". At the age of twenty, he was accepted to study art in St. Petersburg (during this period, he painted for the first time the figure of the Fiddler on the Roof, after which the famous musical is named) and in 1914 married the writer Bella Rosenfeld, who became known as one of his greatest sources of inspiration.

After the October Revolution, Chagall was appointed commissar of arts for the Vitebsk district, where he established an art museum and school. Among the teachers of the school were the artist El Lissitzky and the painter Yehuda Pen – Chagall's first teacher. In 1919, another painter was invited to teach at the school, who was one of the most revolutionary and influencing artists in those years – Kazimir Malevich. Malevich held an artistic view which was more radical than Chagall's and wanted to instill his students with the artistic style he himself had developed – Suprematism. His charismatic figure and new outlook attracted many supporters and in 1920, a collective was established in the school (UNOVIS), which adopted the principles of his doctrine. Gradually, Malevich and his supporters gained power and influence, taking Chagall's place in the managing of the school and finally, changing the curriculum. Subsequently, Chagall decided to leave Russia.

In 1920, Chagall moved to Western Europe and after a short stay in Berlin settled in Paris. During this period, he created the important series "My Life", which documented the views of the Jewish town, and the series of bible illustrations. In 1941, approx. two years after the occupation of France by Nazi Germany, Chagall succeeded in escaping to the USA with the assistance of the American journalist Varian Fry. For several years he lived in New York, returning to France after the war, where he remained until his death.

Chagall's works of art, which embrace a wide variety of fields and styles (prints, theater sets and costumes, sculpture and ceramics, tapestry, mosaics, stained glass, and more), are exhibited in leading museums and galleries, in the opera houses of New York and Paris, in the Mainz Cathedral, in the Knesset (in a space named "The Chagall Lounge") and elsewhere. The painter Pablo Picasso said of his work: "When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what color really is".

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