Marc Chagall: The Facts of Fantasy


On April 7, 1967 Abraham (A.L.) Chanin, an art historian, educator and lecturer at the Museum of Modern Art spoke to the congregation on the life and work of Marc Chagall. The lecture coincided with the opening of the 8th annual Art Show, produced by the Mr. and Mrs. Club and a highlight of PAS spring programming. Chagall came from a Russian Hassidic family whose joy of life permeated much of his work. During the early days of the Russian Revolution, Chagall was commissioned to paint large murals for the walls of the new State Jewish Chamber Theatre, works which recall the exuberance of his life in Vitebsk.

As the Soviet regime became more repressive, Chagall moved Paris and then travelled to Palestine, and throughout Europe. After Hitler's rise to power, Chagall and his family secured exit visas to the United States with the help of notable individuals in New York who knew Chagall's work and his role in the avant-garde art scene. He arrived in New York in June 1941, the day before the Germans invaded the Soviet Union.

Chagall's monumental murals, The Sources of Music and The Triumph of Music were commissioned for the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center, where they were unveiled in 1967.

Following the Chanin's lecture, Rabbi Nadich told of meeting Marc Chagall in 1946 during a visit to a displaced persons camp for orphaned children outside of Paris. "I remember so vividly the emotional outpouring if this man among the many children - how he walked among them, spoke with them, and laughed with them, and shed a few tears because of them."

We hope you enjoy this piece of PAS history.