Artwork by Marc Chagall,  L’Artiste II (M.929)

Marc Chagall
L’Artiste II (M.929)

colour lithograph
signed and numbered 44/50 in the lower margin; titled and dated 1978 on a gallery label on the backing on the reverse
19 x 15.25 ins ( 48.3 x 38.7 cms ) ( sheet )

Auction Estimate: $7,000.00$5,000.00 - $7,000.00

Price Realized $7,200.00
Sale date: June 8th 2023

Albert White Gallery, Toronto
Canadian Corporate Collection
Charles Sorlier, “Chagall Lithographs, 1974-79”, Monte Carlo, 1984, page 12
Marc Chagall had a successful career as an artist before making his first print at age thirty-five. He was living in Berlin, where he met a local publisher, Paul Cassirer. Chagall approached him with a handwritten autobiography, and Cassirer suggested he create a set of etchings to illustrate the book. Following the successful publication of Mein Leben (“My Life”) in 1931, the art dealer Ambroise Vollard urged Chagall to move to Paris to undertake additional printmaking projects. They collaborated on Gogol’s classic Russian novel, Les Ames Mortes ("Dead Souls"), Les Fables by Jean de La Fontaine, and the Bible.

In 1948, Chagall produced his first major lithography series, "Arabian Nights", illustrating the Middle Eastern and South Asian folk tales known as “The Thousand and One Nights”. Lithography provided the opportunity to use the same rich colour palette he was known for
in his paintings. In the early 1950s, Chagall began a friendship and long-term collaboration with the master printer Charles Sorlier. Sorlier worked at Imprimerie Mourlot, a lithography studio in Paris where artists including Picasso, Braque and Miró also made prints. Chagall would continue to work with Sorlier right up until the artist’s death in 1985, at the age of ninety-seven. Together, they found innovative ways to fill the artist’s compositions with dozens of unique colours.

In addition to his lithography series, Chagall produced many individual prints, including “L’Artiste II”, a self-portrait from 1978. Outlined in black and accented with teal, yellow, green and red, the composition includes some of the artist’s signature motifs, such as the rooster and goat in the lower right corner. Sorlier wrote of Chagall’s creative printmaking process: “With Chagall, nothing is quite as we expect it's going to be. He has the rare ability to start each morning afresh. For him, each day is the first day, each flower the most brilliant, each fruit the sweetest... With every stone, lithography is born again... I have had the rare privilege of seeing Chagall at work, and it cannot be denied that, at times, it seems as if an angel has entered the workshop.”

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Marc Chagall
(1887 - 1985)