Marc Chagall – The Dreamer Awake

13 October 2018 – 20 January 2019
A world of miracles, visions and dreams

Marc Chagall (1887–1985) has gone down in art history as a painting dreamer. The laws of gravity and logic seem to have been suspended in his gloriously colourful works. He succeeds as no other artist in transforming reality into a romantic dream world in which he makes human figures and fantastic creatures float through the spaces of his images.
With some 120 magnificently colourful paintings, drawings and graphic works, including loans from the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Ikonen-Museum Recklinghausen and numerous rarely shown works from private collections, the exhibition explores the depths of Marc Chagall’s fantastic dream world while tracking down his sources of inspiration in the real world.

Vitebsk – Dreamed Reality
Chagall was born in Vitebsk in Belarus and grew up in a Jewish shtetl. Many of his visual themes originated there. His Yiddish mother tongue with its playful linguistic idioms and expressions is often a source of his “supernatural” art with its flying peasants and lovers.

Dreaming the Bible
In Chagall’s works there is no distinction between the religious and the secular. The artist grew up in the tradition of Hassidism, a Jewish revivalist movement. According to Hassidic teaching there is nothing in which God is not present. The exhibited works show how Chagall, naturally and with virtuosity, interwove the humanity of biblical stories with the wondrous nature of everyday life.

Paris – Second Home
In 1922 Chagall left his homeland in Belarus and made France his lifelong adopted home. “The land that nourished the roots of my art was Vitebsk, but my art needs Paris as a tree needs water”, he declared. In France the artist discovered a new world of motifs, which he treated, however, with the same dreamlike, fantastic pictorial logic. “I am a painter who is unconsciously conscious.” With many superbly colourful masterpieces, the exhibition examines this artistic motto. 

Marc Chagall, Bride with Two Faces, 1927 © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018