ragtags studio central: sarah's random this & that

random means "having no definite aim or purpose," (1655), taken from "at random" (1565), "at great speed" (thus, "carelessly, haphazardly"). In 1980s college student slang, it somehow, and sadly, acquired a distinct sense of "inferior, undesirable." (Online Etymology Dictionary, Douglas Harper) Well, okay, fine, Mr. Online Etymology Dictionary person, but THIS is the 21st Century. It's a whole new ball of wax.

Monday, May 15, 2006

A short report

The first art I remember attaching to a named artist when I was a kid was a wildly green and yellow piece called The Rabbi and it was painted that way by Marc Chagall.
A copy of it hung in our rented house for an entire year. My mother checked it out of the library over and over again; I'll never forget it as long as I live. So I knew who the guy was, but would I have called him a favorite?
No, I would probably have named someone like Rackham, the illustrator of the fairy tales of a consummate reader’s childhood or Marguerite de Angeli, another remarkable illustrator.
It was as an older teen that I truly fell for the brilliance - the utter explosion of color - with which Marc Chagall, born Moyshe Segal in a Russian village in 1887, the oldest son (of nine children) of grocers, was able to fill canvas after canvas.
He was to live in his native Russia for a relatively short number of years, not consecutive. Eventually he traveled to & lived in France & the US. He also traveled virtually everywhere to complete a myriad of commissions from sacred spaces to theaters throughout the world.
Considered primarily a Cubist & Surrealist, though showing bits of influence of his friends & mentors who included Leon Bakst & Paul Gauguin, he retained throughout his awesomely long career a style & application so uniquely his own that his work could NEVER be mistaken for the work of anyone else.
He was one of the most versatile & prolific artists of the twentieth century, producing book illustration, ceramics, costumes, etchings, lithographs, mosaic, murals, sculpture, stained glass, tapestries & theater sets in addition to his incredible volume of paintings.
Today we can find his works reproduced in pop culture items ranging from rubber stamps to seder plates to t-shirts. Nearly everyone can afford to own at least a reproduction of an incredible piece of art by an incredible artist!
Not a player, though mad for womankind, Chagall was a loving husband to his wife Bella & after her death it was many years before he was to marry again. Valentina, known as Vava truly was his Valentine. He was crazy about kids, an excellent teacher & more than happy in the role of father.
As Marc Chagall is most appreciated visually, I consider myself lucky to have seen spme originals at The Art Institute in Chicago and several museums in New York City.
A distant second, but certainly better than nothing at all are these selected books showcasing his life and work (the starred two are personal faves):

Arabian Nights Marc Chagall, illus. 1999
pub. by Pegasus Library

***** Chagall*****
by Albert Skira 1972
Crown Publishers

by Sydney Alexander 1978
pub. by Putnam

***** Chagall from A to Z*****
by Marie Sellier 1996
pub. by Peter Bedrick Books

I Maestri del Colore: Chagall
text by Renate Negri 1967

The Jerusalem Windows

Marc Chagall 1887-1885 Painting as Poetry
by Walther & Metzger 1996
pub. by Taschen

may i feel said he? by e.e. cummings, Marc Chagall, illus.

Twentieth Century Masters: Chagall
by Mario Bucci 1971
Crown Publishers

Burning Lights
by Bella Chagall with 36 drawings by Marc Chagall
orig. published 1946

There's a film available on both VHS & DVD titled Chagall.
You may also want to look for My Life, his autobiography.
"Two years ago, André Malraux asked me to paint a ceiling for the Paris Opéra. I was troubled, touched and deeply moved. . . I doubted day and night. I thought about the whole structure of the Opéra. I profoundly admired the genius of Garnier's building and Carpeaux's inspired sculpture. I wished to reflect, as though in a mirror high above, in a bouquet of dreams, the creation of actors, of composers, to recall the colourful movement of the audience below. To sing like a bird, without theory or method, to render homage to the great composers of opera and ballet. . . I laboured with all my heart, and I offer this work as a gift, in gratitude to France and her school of Paris, for without them there would be no colour, there would be no freedom."
Marc Chagall, 1964