Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Printemps au Pré, from Daphnis et Chloé Lithograph in colours, 1961, on Arches wove paper, signed and numbered 12/60 in pencil, printed by Mourlot, published by Tériade, Paris, the full sheet with a deckle edge at right and below, with minor light-staining, the colours still strong and vibrant, in good conditionImage 420 x 640mm. (16 1/2 by 25 1/4in.); Sheet 538 x 756mm. (21 1/4 x 29 3/4in.)

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Lot 33* AR
Marc Chagall
(1887-1985)
Printemps au Pré, from Daphnis et Chloé

Sold for £ 47,750 (US$ 60,040) inc. premium
Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
Printemps au Pré, from Daphnis et Chloé (Mourlot 314; Cramer Books 46)
Lithograph in colours, 1961, on Arches wove paper, signed and numbered 12/60 in pencil, printed by Mourlot, published by Tériade, Paris, the full sheet with a deckle edge at right and below, with minor light-staining, the colours still strong and vibrant, in good condition

Image 420 x 640mm. (16 1/2 by 25 1/4in.); Sheet 538 x 756mm. (21 1/4 x 29 3/4in.)

Footnotes

  • Marc Chagall is recognised as one of the leading lithographers of the 20th century. The following collection highlights the artist's fascination with printmaking in Paris from the 1950s to the 1980s and his close collaboration with master printmaker Charles Sorlier and the Mourlot Studios.

    It was a fascination that mainly came about later in Chagall's career when he had reached the grand aged of 63. After returning to France in 1947, having escaped Nazi-occupied France for the United States six years earlier, he took up printmaking with the aid of both Atelier Mourlot director, Fernand Mourlot, and expert printmaker, Charles Sorlier. Sorlier would become Chagall's most important creative collaborator, assisting him in the Mourlot atelier. Together they would come to create an exceptional body of lithographic work, illustrating Chagall's most recognised and favourite subjects from matrimony, birds, animals and flowers to biblical scenes and the circus.

    Within this important private collection, assembled over two decades from Northern Germany, is offered a selection of prints from Chagall's first major colour portfolio, Daphnis et Chloé (Lot 33-42). The 42 lithographs that make up the vibrant book are based on the Greek poet, Longus' retelling of Daphnis and Chloé love story. Commissioned by one of the most important art publishers of the 20th Century, Tériade believe Chagall would be perfect at capturing a tale of love over adversity and he was not wrong. After a trip abroad and inspired by the light and landscape of the Greek islands he visited, Chagall returned to Paris with a series of preparatory studies to produce the portfolio with Sorlier. It has since come to be regarded as one of the most important and beautifully illustrated books of the last century – and a highlight of Chagall's storied career.

    As Chagall and Sorlier's relationship strengthened, Sorlier would evaluate the quality of the lithographs and numbering of the proofs, destroying any excess, after which Chagall would hand sign them. Devoted to the process and insistent upon rigorous standards, Chagall would work and rework the plates and colours until he was completely happy, standing with Sorlier at every step of the process. Sorlier once wrote 'the great integrity he invests in his work...requires that the plate bear my name each time he has not directly participated in the transcription to stone'. For this reason, most of the afterworks are signed by Marc Chagall and in the stone by Charles Sorlier. These so-called afterworks are currently some of the most valuable and sought after works of Chagall's entire artistic oeuvre (Lot 53-54). Such collaborations exemplify the close and harmonious bond between the artist and the master printer.

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