The Russian-born painter Marc Chagall will be 90 on Thursday (7 July). He is one?
The Russian-born painter Marc Chagall will be 90 on Thursday (7 July). He is one of a generation of internationally-known European artists and musicians - including the late Pablo Picasso and Pablo Casals and the 90-year-ole pianist Artur Rubinstein -- who have continued to work and exhibit remarkable creative vitality into their old age.
SYNOPSIS: A few days ago, Monsieur Chagall was in Nice, in southern France, receiving congratulations before the opening of his latest exhibition. He first went to Paris to work in 1910; returned there between the world wars; took refuge in the United States during the Nazi occupation; but has made his home in Provence for the past 27 years.
The memorial window to Dag Hammarskjoeld in the United Nations building in New York is one of his best-known works. Chagall was present when the Secretary General, U Thant, unveiled the tribute to his predecessor in 1964, on the third anniversary of Hammarskjoeld's death. He said he had tried to convey the yearning of mankind for peace, and the inspiration of all those like Hammarskjoeld, who had died for peace.
The Paris Opera House -- for which the French Minister of Culture, Andre Malraux, commissioned Chagall to design a new ceiling. Brilliant in colour, delicate in execution, it blends superbly with the 19th century decor of the building -- and reflects Chagall's constant attraction to scenes of the theatre, the ballet and the circus.
An exhibition of mosaics in Cairo shows other aspects of Chagall's versatility: his love of fantastic birds and animals and his mastery of different media. Paint, glass mosaic, etchings, woodcuts and ceramics: he has produced notable work in them all.
A window of Hadasah Hospital in Jerusalem. Chagall has returned many times to biblical themes. Now he himself speaks of his inspiration.
(Chagall is re-emphasising a belief he has consistently proclaimed -- that art must be the expression of love, or it is nothing)
(As he develops his theme of the vital force of love, all the humour and humanity of this remarkable old man shows through).
Russian soul and Jewish tradition: these have been pinpointed as the source of Chagall's inspiration. His series of etchings on biblical themes, executed in the inter-war years, were followed by his major later work "Biblical Message": a collection of paintings on permanent exhibition in Nice. Now, he is exhibiting some of the work he has done since then -- in the last ten years -- and once again the religious theme is dominant.
That is Marc Chagall at 90 -- still vigorous and still working.