6 x 6"
oil on panel
The artist Marc Chagall called 'love' the primary color of his paintings. They are rich with Russian culture. You hear the music. You feel the love.
Chagall's Birthday depicts the artist floating and swooping over his wife, Bella, to kiss her on her birthday. Or his birthday - different accounts claim one or the other. The couple met in their hometown of Vitebsk, Belarus in 1909 - he was twenty-two and she was fourteen. Chagall was the son of a working-class Hasidic Jewish family - Bella was born to one of the town's richest Jewish families. Despite her family's misgivings about the union, Marc and Bella married in 1915, had a daughter, moved to rural France, fled from the Nazi regime to Lisbon and then to the United States and remained happily married until Bella's death in 1944.
In her memoirs, Bella recounts how she worked at finding Marc's birth date and visited him on that day, carrying flowers as he began the paint. "Spurts of red, white, black. Suddenly you tear me from the earth, you yourself take off from one foot. You rise, you stretch your limbs, you float up to the ceiling. Your head turns about and you make mine turn. You brush my ear and murmur."
How sweet is that?
From the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, a woman leans in to admire Chagall's Birthday.