Chagall's Fantasy World Splashes Vibrant Colours in Macao

Museum enthusiasts would visit places like Tokyo, Taipei, Paris and Amsterdam, but very seldom would they go to Macao. Yet, this summer, many will be flocking to Macao for the numerous exciting exhibitions there. Besides the 'Alter-Ego' exhibitions curated by street artist Vhils, there is another exhibition presenting over 100 works by the modernist artist Marc Chagall.

Marc Chagall and his wife Bella

Those who keep up with auctions would be familiar with Marc Chagall (1877 - 1985), who is famous for his dreamy style featuring colourful and surrealistic elements. Last November, his work Les Amoureux which depicts his love story was sold for US$28.4m, breaking his personal record in auction.


This exhibition, titled ‘Marc Chagall, Light and Colour in Southern France’, explores Chagall’s use of light and colour from the 1950s to 1970s. Inspired by the bright landscapes of the Mediterranean and the Côte d’Azur, Chagall created a fantasy world of mermaids, mythical creatures and plants blossoming under the radiant sun.

Five Candles, 1950|Private Collection

Blue Boat in the Sun, Le Draont 1951|Private Collection

Chagall was born in Russia and spent his early years in France. Being Jewish, he had to escape to America during the Second World War. After that he returned to France and settled in the Southern side along the sea. He observed lovers strolling on the coast along the shimmering water and depicted these love stories in his paintings under the fleeting sunset.

Boy among flowers, 1955|Private Collection

Preparatory Gouahce for Siren and Fish, 1956-60|Private Collection

Commissioned by publishers, Chagall had visited Greece twice to get inspiration for his works. Athens, Olympia, Delphi and Poros ignited his imagination. He was reminded of Greek mythology that was once a popular subject matter in the 19th - 20th century Russian art. He started to use vivid colours to paint the anicent architecture, Gods and musicians in ancient Greek myths as well as stories like the Fisherman and the Fish.

Large bouquet of violet gladioli in front of a window, 1958-60|Private Collection

Sketch of The Life, 1963-64|Private Collection 

In 1948, he left the seaside and returned to France to settle in the suburbs in Paris. He moved into a studio situated in a Mediterranean-style garden full of olive trees. Chagall was prolific for the last 30 years of his life, continuing to paint on canvas while completing many large public projects in other media. 


Battle of the Flowers, 1967|Private Collection

Paradise, 1961|Musée national Marc Chagall

Besides mermaids and flowers, many of Chagall's works also took inspiration from the Bible. Chagall once said, ‘I did not see the Bible, I dreamed it. Ever since early childhood, I have been captivated by the Bible. It has always seemed to me and still seems today the greatest source of poetry of all time.’


Marc Chagall, Light and Colour in Southern France

Exhibition period: 2018/6/1 - 8/26
Location: The Macao Museum of Art
Address: Av. Xian Xing Hai, Macao
Opening hours: 10am - 7pm (Closed on Mondays)
Admissions: Free
Enquiries: 853 2836 6866