Mr. Happy – The Love of Marc Chagall

“Only love interests me, and I am only in contact with things that revolve around love.”

– Marc Chagall

That sounds heavenly! I wish I could do that. Live a life infused with love and nothing but love. I envy Marc Chagall for his unwavering positive attitude. It was one that would make Norman Vincent Peale proud. A rarity among famous artists, Chagall refused to submit to his inner neurotic (assuming he even had one) or convey the world as a bleak, cynical, miserable place. It’s even more impressive for a guy who grew up poor in a Jewish ghetto under imperial Russia, yet still described his childhood as “happy”. Then came adulthood, and a surveilled life in St. Petersberg that required all Jews to carry permits and obey restrictions. And then, years later, fleeing Paris to escape Nazi persecution. Such harsh adversities would engender considerable and justifiable anger, fear, and bitterness in most people. But not Marc Chagall.

When he painted people, he depicted them happy, carefree, in love with each other and the world around them. Bursting color, whimsical abandon, and childlike innocence distinguish his work. In Chagall’s vision, love is the answer, the reason for being, just as it was in his off-canvas life. When he met Bella Rosenfeld, a jeweler’s daughter, Chagall said it was love at first sight. They married in 1915, and their bond remained strong and unbreakable for 30 years. When Bella died in 1944 from a viral infection, Chagall was devastated. He had lost his artistic muse, companion, mother of his daughter Ida, and his best friend.

We should all be motivated by love, whether romantic love, platonic love, love of life, laughter, hopes and dreams, art and music, love for family and children, love of earth and animals. My writing of this post, for example, is inspired by love for a dear friend, Stephanie. She is a Chagall fan, and my love and affection for her, and the memories we share, inspired this blog entry 🙂

This is Chagall’s Above the Town. Now that looks like a great date. Talk about being swept off your feet!

chagall_abovethetown

Three Candles:

chagall-three-candles

Again, Chagall does the euphoric “floating in air” thing. Bella was his model for this painting. She flies like a kite, buoyed by jubilation and youthful exuberance. And check out that big crazy grin on the man’s face! This is Promenade:

chagall-promenade

Today, Chagall’s paintings fetch upwards of $6 million at auction. His work is popular and beloved by many for their vivid, lively spirit and enduring charm. It’s nice to know that happiness never goes out of style 🙂

*Note to my readers: I’m heading out of town for the weekend to attend my cousin’s graduation from Clark University. Yay! I’m so proud of him. So me and the family are driving up to Worcester, Massachusetts on Saturday morning, and returning on Sunday night. I’ll be back blogging either Monday or Tuesday, with new posts and comment responses. Will miss you all, and have a great weekend!!

Claudia

10 thoughts on “Mr. Happy – The Love of Marc Chagall

  1. Stephanie says:

    Thank you, Claudia! What a great way to start my Friday!

    We all have a dark side — mysterious and primitive. But I am much more excited by the equally universal capacity for love and have been drawn to those who express it artistically — including Chagall (and Paul, of course). I’ve always loved Chagall but knew little of his personal life — a sort of willful ignorance, since I have books on Chagall and the Internet at my fingertips. Perhaps I was always waiting for my good friend Claudia to tell me this story.

    Love you,
    Stephanie

    • artmodel says:

      Stephanie,

      I knew you would enjoy this post, friend. Chagall is wonderful. I love what you said about the “universal capacity for love”. I just wish more people would harness that part of themselves instead of suppressing it. The word would be a much better place!

      You can count on me to provide more about Chagall, so forget those books! I’ve got you covered 🙂

      Thanks for your wonderful comments.

      Claudia

    • rachel says:

      Thank you Stephanie and Claudia for sharing your love. Big Digital Hug, Rachel

  2. Marc says:

    I’ve notice that there is a world of difference between his characters that are touching the ground and those who are floating. It’s as if some people are stuck in reality, and then others are dancing around it. Marc Chagall knew how to lift the spirit through his works.

    • artmodel says:

      Marc,

      I think it’s totally cool that a “Marc” is commenting on a blog post about “Marc Chagall”. I like it spelled with a c. But that’s an interesting observation you made about the floating figures. I’d say I’m more partial to the “unreal” dreamers who dance in the air 🙂

      I love the Chagall images in your gallery, by the way. Beautiful collection, thank you. And thanks so much for commenting on Museworthy!

      Claudia

  3. Sullivan says:

    Such a nice post.
    Thanks!!

  4. Very nice piece, Claudia.

    By the way, it only within the last few years that Russia removed the nationality line from their internal passport (necessary for all Russian cittizens to have as identification) wherein anyone of Jewish decent, no matter how long the family lived in Russia, was listed as Jewish.

  5. Looked at your note about Mr. Happy. He was. I wrote a book about Chagall and his personal characteristics as I worked with him the last years of his life. I can confirm your opinion and thoughts. My book is on my website http://www.vivianjacobson.com and you can order it from there, the cost is $20.00 including priority mailing. All the messages in Chagall’s artwork are hope, peace, reconciliation and love. He never gave up despite a very difficult life. Thanks again for your thoughts.
    Chagallian wishes, Vivian

    • artmodel says:

      Vivian,

      Thank you so much!! I’m delighted that you found this blog entry and generously took the time to post a comment. I feel wonderfully validated by what you wrote! I’m glad I got it right about Chagall, a favorite of mine and countless others. His art continues to uplift and inspire.

      Your feedback is much appreciated, thanks again!

      Claudia

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