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Marc Chagall, Bestiaire et Musique, 1969, Oil, wax crayon and India ink on canvas, 140.2 x 155.5 cm

Marc Chagall, Bestiaire et Musique, 1969, Oil, wax crayon and India ink on canvas, 140.2 x 155.5 cm

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The fantastic work, as well as museum-worthy and of undisputed historical-artistic value, proposed by us by Marc Chagall is a nocturnal scene of dances and revelry, animals, musicians, lovers and floating figures, "Bestiaire et Musique" from 1969 immerses the viewer in the fantastic and dreamlike world of the great Master.

Layer after layer of detail unfolds in this large-scale, richly textured, and exuberantly coloured work.
Like the hazy realm of memory, or the flickering, fast moving images of a film, the painting is particularly notable for its intensity of colour.
Setting the scene at night, Chagall used deep blue and black tones which make the brighter yellows, reds, greens and blues dazzle and gleam, as if light is shining through a stained glass window into the night sky.
With his various experiments with different media – including stained glass windows and ceramics – Chagall developed a new understanding of the potentials and power of colour at this time.

It was in the 1960s and 1970s, using the lessons he had learned while working in glass, that colour became an essential element in Chagall’s work in its own right, achieving its full radiance and plenitude in his paintings of this time, particularly in works such as Bestiaire et musique.
Here, the interplay between the enigmatic nocturnal hues that suffuse much of the surface and the incandescent bursts of yellow, red, and emerald greens echo the unique colour combinations and intense luminosity that marked many of Chagall’s projects in stained glass.
The artist further accentuated the chromatic power of the pigment through the rich textures of his paint surface, building this frenzied, highly detailed scene with layer upon layer of vibrant colour, applied with oil paint, as well as wax crayon and India ink.
In this way, he created a novel visual drama that captures the eye and draws the viewer into the heady world of his imagination.

In addition to his pioneering stained glass windows, in the 1950s, Chagall had also become interested in ceramics.
After settling in the south of France in 1949, he began to experiment with this medium, often modelling the clay himself, before painting the pieces with his own distinctive style. The incised lines and luminous unmixed hues in the present work reflect the techniques that the artist had employed in his ceramic making.

Embracing a variety of these different style and techniques, in the late 1960s, Chagall continually pushed the boundaries of his art making. As a result, his painting remained at the forefront of the avant-garde, sharing a number of preoccupations with contemporary art of this period. As Jackie Wullschlager has written, these works ‘demonstrate Chagall’s ability to respond to abstraction, to the fragmentation of the image, and to the disintegration of fixed disciplines that were the characteristics of art in the 1960s’ (Chagall: Love and Exile, London, 2008, p. 509).

"Bestiaire et Musique" was chosen by the artist to be shown in his landmark 1977 exhibition, "Marc Chagall, Peintures récentes 1967-1977", held in the hallowed galleries of the Musée du Louvre, Paris.
Held in honour of the artist’s 90th birthday, this show featured predominantly works from the artist’s own collection, thereby providing audiences the opportunity to regard the Master’s latest work for the first time.

The artwork is accompanied by the official certificate of the "Marc Chagall Committee".


Artist: Marc Chagall (1887-1985)

Title: Bestiaire et Musique

Year: 1969

Medium/Material: Oil, wax crayon and India ink on canvas

Size in cm: 140.2 x 155.5 (only the artwork) - 150 x 165 x 5 (including the frame)

Signatures, trademarks, origin: Hand-signed by the artist on the back

Condition: Very good, two small restorations on the back

Exhibitions and Publications:

- Tokyo, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Marc Chagall, August - September 1976, no. 39, n.p. (illustrated n.p.); this exhibition later travelled to Kyoto, Musée Municipal, September - October 1976; Nagoya, Musée Préfectoral d'Aichi, November 1976; and Kumamoto, Musée Prefectoral, November - December 1976.

- Paris, Musée du Louvre, Marc Chagall, Peintures récentes 1967-1977, October 1977 - January 1978, no. 12, n.p. (illustrated n.p.).

- Saint-Paul de Vence, Fondation Maeght, L'oeuvre ultime de Cezanne à Dubuffet, July October 1989, no. 43, pp. 108 (illustrated p. 109).


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