Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Chagall and Picasso..

Above: The view from our hotel window in Nice

Last year when we were in Nice, we visited the Chagall and Matisse museums. The Chagall museum was stunning. There was one of my favourite works there, La Maternite Rouge, of which there are 50 signed lithographs. I had looked at one of them in an art gallery in Sydney a few years before and had ummed and ahhed about it until it was too late, so it was much solace to find another one of the 50 at the museum, where everyone can enjoy it for perpetuity.

Above: La Maternite Rouge (Colour Lithograph, 1980)

Above: Vue sur Notre Dame (Colour Lithograph, 1980)

Apart from the lithographs there were many oils on board and canvas, and some examples of his stunning stained glass work:

Above: His window depicting the 5th and 6th days of creation

Above: Abraham entertains the three angels (oil on canvas, 1960-66)

Above: Jacob wrestling with the angel (Oil on canvas, 1960-1966)

We have a couple of Chagall lithographs at home, and just last week we acquired another one to add to the collection:

Above: L’Odyssée I - Protée (Colour Lithograph, 1974-75)

You will find goats lurking in many of his pictures. Marc Chagall was from Russian Jewish ancestry. Many theories abound about the reason behind the goats (and also the hens). I'm not sure any are better than another. Some critics suggest that the goat, omnipotent, represents God himself, present in the background of daily life. Some suggest that it represents the atonement of mankind's sin, linking the goat in the painting with the goat of the Jewish day of atonement, which traditionally had a red ribbon tied around it's neck before being driven off into the wilderness. Reasons aside, I love Julia Robert's line in Notting Hill: "Happiness isn't happiness without a violin playing goat", referring to Chagall's painting La Mariee .

Above: La Mariee (gouache pastel, 1950)

I think that Chagall's dome mural (above) for the inside of the refurbished Paris Opera House (La Palais Garnier) in 1964 is stunning (despite the controversy it caused at the time). He also painted two large works for the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts around the same time, The Triumph of Music and The Sources of Music. Alas I could only view them through a window in passing one evening on a layover (below).

We are currently renting most of our artworks out. Others we have include a few colour lithographs by Pablo Picasso, such as:

Le Picador (colour lithograph, 1961, signed)

and Corrida (wash and colour crayon, 1959)

Once the hotel is up and running at Willowbrook Park, we hope to display these in the communal areas and one in each bedroom, and that the art collection will be one of the many attractions for our guests. I know other people out there are big fans.


  1. Beautiful site! I am looking forward to following you into the future! I love the artwork and the wonderfulcreative images, especially the swans.
    xxx kim

  2. haha - nice finger pointing!! but so true. I saw the chapel filled with his stained glass windows near the rockefeller mansion (that I blogged about last fall) in upstate NY and they were really breathtaking.

  3. here is the link to my post about a chapel full of his windows!


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