The Jewish Museum – Chagall: Love, War, and Exile

Based on museum audio guide. The number of each painting corresponds to the actual item number in the museum.

200. Time is a River without Bank

Marc Chagall. Time is a River without Bank, 1930-39

Up till now I still think of this painting by Chagall in his early period as the most poetic and romantic one in this exhibition. Perhaps this is also why the museum placed it at the front of the hall. In this painting, we see a wide and peaceful river which of course represents Chagall’s hometown; while the flying fish is his father. Chagall himself and his wife, Bella, which are the only two “live” figures in the picture, sit at the corner, holding each other and cherishing the moment being together. This painting is about time, memory and loss, as said by the commentary, which I cannot agree more. Time is like a river, which is always moving and never stops. The grandfather clock in the middle, which is a more obvious symbol of time, in my opinion, is more of a implication of the objectiveness about time and we as human beings have to sit aside to either embrace or withstand the memory and loss that the times brings to us.

201. The Lovers

Marc Chagall. The Lovers, 1937

To understand this painting, it is important to know that bouquet was rare in Russia but plenty in Paris back in 1930s. This helps us understand the inner passion and spiritual energy that drive Chagall to grow and grows his flowers to essentially the whole canvas. The background color of this image is similar to the last one, and also from the lower right-hand side we see the houses the sheep representing Chagall’s hometown and his nostalgia while living in Paris and enjoying his sweet life at the same time. The contrast between these two color palettes and the emotions behind them make this bouquet look so special and joyful.

202. Untitled (Old Man with Beard)

Marc Chagall. Untitled (Old Man with Beard), 1931

203. Study for the Revolution

Marc Chagall. The Study for Revolution, 1937

204. Solitude

Marc Chagall. Solitude, 1953

205. The Fall of the Angel

Marc Chagall. The Fall of the Angel, 1923-33-47

206. Obsession

Marc Chagall. Obsession, 1943

208, Exodus

Marc Chagall. Exodus, 1952-66

209. Calvary

Marc Chagall. Calvary, 1912

210. Descent from the Cross

Marc Chagall. Descent from the Cross, 1941

211. Christ in the Night

Marc Chagall. Christ in the Night, 1948

212. The Flayed Ox

Marc Chagall. The Flayed Ox, 1947

213. Soul of the City

Marc Chagall. Soul of the City, 1945

214. The Wedding Candles

Marc Chagall. The Wedding Candles, 1948

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