Artwork by Marc Chagall,  Hyménée from Daphnis and Chloé (Cramer 46, Mourlot 349)

Marc Chagall
Hyménée from Daphnis and Chloé (Cramer 46, Mourlot 349)

colour lithograph
signed and numbered 56/60 within the lower margin; Published by Tériade, Paris
21 x 29.5 ins ( 53.3 x 74.9 cms ) ( sheet )

Auction Estimate: $18,000.00$12,000.00 - $18,000.00

Price Realized $18,000.00
Sale date: June 24th 2021

Private Collection, Toronto
One of the world’s preeminent pioneers of modernism, Marc Chagall worked in a wide range of artistic formats, including painting, stained glass, ceramics, book illustrations and tapestries. In 1952, the French publisher Tériade reached out to Chagall to propose creating a series of lithographs based on the Greek poet Longus’ retelling of the love story of Daphnis and Chloé. Tériade’s timing proved to be opportune, as Chagall’s recent marriage to his second wife, Valentina Brodsky, had him in a romantic mindset. He was touched by the Longus’ romantic, semi-erotic tale of love conquering all, and happily took on the project. The story of Daphnis and Chloé recounts the journey of two soulmates who begin life as orphans raised by farmers on the Greek Isle of Lesbos. As they mature, Daphnis and Chloé fall in love, but struggle to understand their new romantic feelings.

Chagall spent the following nine years creating 42 colour lithographs illustrating the famous love story, using his honeymoon locations in Greece as inspiration. Working together with master printer Charles Sorlier, Chagall’s intricate and vivid lithographs were printed in Paris between 1957 and 1960. The Daphnis and Chloé suite was officially released in 1961 and is seen as the most important graphic works of Chagall’s career. For every illustration, he used up to 25 colours — each requiring separate printing.

Chagall’s illustrations are vibrant and full of activity; the characters are surrounded by flowers, animals, and mythological figures, amid meadows, mountains, and seas. Hyménée is the last scene in the lithograph series, marking the end of Daphnis and Chloé’s journey to be together. The two lovers are finally able to lay together, as a crowd of people celebrate from a distance.

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Marc Chagall
(1887 - 1985)