The Color of Dreams. Marc Chagall on display in Mestre with masterpieces from European museums

From Sept. 30, 2023, to Feb. 13, 2024, the Candiani Cultural Center in Mestre, Venice, will devote an exhibition to Marc Chagall: the focus will be on works from the Ca' Pesaro collection compared with masterpieces from European museums.

From September 30, 2023 to February 13, 2024, the Candiani Cultural Center in Mestre (Venice) will dedicate a focus to Marc Chagall: the exhibition Chagall. The Color of Dreams, proposed by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia and curated by Elisabetta Barisoni, intends to investigate the revolutionary scope of Chagall’s art as the painting of dreams and as the triumph of the creative imagination, starting with Rabbi No. 2 or Rabbi of Vitebsk, from 1914 - 1922, a masterpiece preserved in the collections of Ca’ Pesaro Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna and acquired by the City of Venice at the 1928 Biennale

The exhibition is designed with masterpieces conserved at Ca’ Pesaro, which are flanked in each section by important and timely works by Chagall from prestigious international collections. Thanks to loans from the Albertina in Vienna, the Musée National Marc Chagall in Nice, the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest, and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Chagall becomes a red thread linking works and artists who felt their production in terms similar to his, or who were inspired by him to develop their art in the most diverse directions.

Chagall’s fantastical journey takes place through twentieth-century art and is divided into six sections that begin with The Symbolist Dream, featuring the dreamlike poetry of Odilon Redon, Cesare Laurenti and Adolfo Wildt. The second section of the exhibition is titled It is only mine / the country that is in my soul and is all about Marc Chagall, with The Rabbi of Ca’ Pesaro for the first time placed side by side with Vitebsk. Village Scene from the Batliner Collection at the Albertina in Vienna.

Artists in Exile, on the other hand, addresses the theme of emigration to the United States by numerous authors forced to leave Europe during the 1930s. The contiguity of the Rabbi of Ca’ Pesaro with Cubist and Constructivist emergencies is compared with the sculptures of Ossip Zadkine, all the way to the Surrealism of Max Ernst, who looked to Chagall as an inescapable starting point for his own art. The fourth section focuses on the themes dear to Chagall, love and color. The Color of Dreams places the Russian master’s researches side by side with those of European Expressionism, well represented by Emil Nolde’s bright colors. A large section of the exhibition is then devoted to religious works and in particular to Marc Chagall’s illustrations for the Bible commissioned by Ambroise Vollard. The engravings donated by the artist to the Musée National Chagall in Nice in 1972 will be on display, alongside the precious original plates from which the graphics were made.

The biblical and Crucifixion theme starts with Chagall and develops toward Symbolist or Primitivist outcomes that emerge in the works from the Ca’ Pesaro collections displayed in the exhibition. The theme of the sacred, so important in Chagall’s production, unites international authors from very distant pictorial traditions. Neighbors in their reflection on Christ, the Cross and the spiritual bearing of existence are the masterpieces, restored for the occasion and finally made available to the public, by Frenchman Georges Rouault of Belgian Frank Brangwyn, Swedish Veikko Aaltona and Hungarian István Csók, further testifying to the uniqueness of the collections that the City of Venice has created for the Gallery of Modern Art by buying, since the first Biennales, works by international authors exhibited at the Giardini.

The exhibition closes with a sixth section all about the imaginative, illogical, instinctive and joyful message that Chagall left us. The Color of Fables takes its start from the graphic project on La Fontaine’s Fables made by Chagall in the 1920s, and is colored by the fantastic visions of George Grosz and the reflections, between fables and myth, of Félicien Rops, Frank Barwig and Mario De Maria. The utopia and anti-modernity of Chagall’s lesson, expressed in painting and graphic works, also characterize the second half of the century in evidence of unprecedented dreamlike atmosphere, as in the sculpture of Claudio Parmiggiani, the painting of Corrado Balest and Carlo Hoellesch.

For more information you can visit the website of the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia.

Image: Marc Chagall, Vitebsk. Village Scene (c. 1930-1935; oil on canvas, 39 x 55.5 cm; Vienna, Albertina, Batliner Collection)

The Color of Dreams. Marc Chagall on display in Mestre with masterpieces from European museums
The Color of Dreams. Marc Chagall on display in Mestre with masterpieces from European museums

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