Friday, 22 February 2013

Chagall in Zurich

This is for the record... Verena and I went to see the exhibition in the Zurich Kunsthaus. It was a Saturday and surprisingly crowded. As we climbed the stairs to the rooms where Chagall's paintings and some of his works on paper were displayed, I recalled the exhibitions about Chagall for which I had translated the texts/catalogues, held in the Jewish Historical Museum Amsterdam, now quite some years ago. Some of the works in Zurich were the same (the decor for the Moscow theatre, in quiet pastels) and there were some of his very famous paintings, showing purple cows, or Vitebsk in Russia, where he grew up, or lamplit scenes inside small wooden houses. But also ones I didn't know.
Quite overwhelming.
Such variety, from the challenging and sobering painting about war, to the joyous dancing figures, fiddlers on the roof, prancing cows, flying bridal couples...
A French contemporary painter said: 'When ?(I forget which French painter he named...) dies, the only painter left who knows about colour will be Chagall.' (I haven't got that quote quite right.) But the point was about Chagall's splendid use of surprising colours, sometimes reminiscent of Van Gogh.
People at the exhibition were happy, were laughing because some of the paintings were so joyous. Wonderful.
It's been a long time since I visited such a show, so filling the mind with brightness.
Then out into a sunny Zurich, and took the train to Horgen on the other side of the lake.

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