Chagall was always caught in the proverbial rock and a hard place: a conflict between an attachment to Judaism, that tug of history and tradition and between the modernist, secular context in large part atheistic in nature. Artistically, he may have come the closest to integrating the two incompatibles of objective representation and subjective abstraction in arriving at work convincingly traditional and modern simultaneously. Its not really possible. Its either you are pregnant or you’re not.
And Chagall always was reluctant to cross the rubicon into the higher realms of appeal to the advanced cognoscenti and into this snob appeal, distancing of what they referred to as the unwashed and mentally deficient. Chagall’s world of pogroms, piety and shetl’s, the emotional intensity of Judaism, did not translate well into the updated version of the Paris Salon headed by a self-hater like Gertrude Stein who could have been Clement Greenberg’s cousin.
…A preliminary sketch by Marc Chagall ( below) of one of the twelve stained glass windows he created for the hadassah hospital synagogue in West Jerusalem.
…”Twelve Maquettes of Stained Glass Windows for Jerusalem” This album was published in 75 copies numbered in Roman numerals and contains reproductions of the twelve sketches and of the 12 windows made by Chagall for the Synagogue at Jerusalem. Chagall specially engraved for this work the chapter heading and the end-piece for Monsieur Julien Cain’s preface. Read More:http://www.bakkerart.com/chagall.html
Reproduction of the final version:
Chagall and his assistant, Charles Marq, worked on the project for two years, during which time Marq developed a special process for applying color to the glass. This allowed Chagall to use as many as three colors on a single pane, rather than being confined to the traditional technique of separating each colored pane by a lead strip.Read More:http://www.hadassah.org.il/English/Eng_MainNavBar/About/Art+at+Hadassah/
Marc Chagall, Remarks at the dedication of the Jerusalem Windows (1962)
How is it that the air and earth of Vitebsk, my birthplace, and of thousands of years of exile, find themselves mingled in the air and earth of Jerusalem.
How could I have thought that not only my hands with their colors would direct me in their work, but that the poor hands of my parents and of others and still others with their mute lips and their closed eyes, who gathered and whispered behind me, would direct me as if they also wished to take part in my life?
I feel too, as though the tragic and heroic resistance movements, in the ghettos, and your war here in this country, are blended in my flowers and beasts and my fiery colors. . . .
The more our age refuses to see the full face of the universe and restricts itself to the sight of a tiny fraction of its skin, the more anxious I become when I consider the universe in its eternal rhythm, and the more I wish to oppose the general current.
Do I speak this because with the advance of life, the outlines surrounding us becomes clearer and the horizon appears in a more tragic glow?
I feel as if colors and lines flow like tears from my eyes, though I do not weep. And do not think that I speak like this from weakness—on the contrary, as I advance in years the more certain I am of what I want, and the more certain I am of what I say.
I know that the path of our life is eternal and short, and while still in my mother’s womb I learned to travel this path with love rather than with hate….Read More:http://www.spaightwoodgalleries.com/Pages/Chagall_Jerusalem_Windows.html