Marc Chagall
(Liosno bei Witebsk, 1887-1985, Saint-Paul)
The Russian Wedding, 1909
Oil on canvas, 68.5 x 97.5 cm
Signed & dated (in Cyrillic and in Latin letters): Chagall 1909
Meyer 15
Marc Chagall was born in 1887 in Liosno near the Russian-Jewish town of Vitebsk, and his place of origin was to inspire his paintings throughout his life. His early milieu was rustic and petty bourgeois, and devoid of art, there being no models for the artist to follow; this fact gives Chagall’s paintings their unmistakable quality of experienced and sensed reality. "The Russian Wedding", which the twenty-two-year-old artist paints in St. Petersburg in 1909, betrays nothing of the academic theories he had been imbibing there since 1907. This picture stems straight from his home place: here are the wide, treeless roads, unpaved, either dust or mud depending on weather and season, and the low, unadorned timber houses. Only for a brief moment is the melancholy scene animated by the wedding procession moving from across the distant horizon, led by two musicians followed by the couple and the families. Only the last one in the procession is in a wanton mood, but he can't prevail against the grey-brown tones and faded green of the old fiddler’s coat. "The Russian Wedding" became the property of Chagall’s St. Petersburg patron Vinaver, who financed a stay of nearly four years in Paris for Chagall.