© Philippe Halsman, ca. 1951, Portrait of Marc Chagall

This one is, again, especially for Monsieur Chagalov. Thanks for your help!

“If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.” (Marc Chagall)

 
UPDATE JUL. 7, 2012:
On July 7th, 1887, 125 years ago, Marc Chagall was born. In “Chagall: A Retrospective,” a book of excerpted writings about him, a passage from Virginia Haggard’s “Life With Chagall” (1960) quotes him as telling a young artist:

"The older you grow, the less spontaneous you will be. A child paints with passionate intensity, that’s the quality you must preserve." (Marc Chagall)

Marc Chagall (1887-1985) was a fascinating and protean figure, one of the 20th century’s most unlikely self-made masters. He was not only a pioneer of modernism but also a great figurative artist. He scraped his way through intense and trying historical times: the Russian Revolution and two world wars. Hitler found his art degenerate, and he was lucky to survive that fact. He and his family were smuggled out of occupied France in 1941 with days to spare.

Chagall lived long enough — too long probably — to see his reputation swing wildly, from avant-garde champion in revolutionary Russia to much-mocked promulgator of ethnic kitsch, the man who accidentally supplied the iconography for “Fiddler on the Roof.” In the early 1950s the always-quotable Picasso put it pretty well about Chagall’s strengths and weaknesses: “When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what color really is.” Picasso said he was not crazy about the “flying violins and all the folklore, but his canvases are really painted, not just thrown together.” He added: “There’s never been anybody since Renoir who has the feeling for light that Chagall has.” (read more)

» more of Magnum Photos «  |  » more photos of famous people «