Agora Design Partnership | Design for Public Parks & Spaces

Marc Chagall Memorial

  • 1 1/2 times life-size
  • For the Committee for the Marc Chagall Memorial
  • Paris, France
  • Year completed: 2013

In 2010 Richard Light was asked to create a large (one and a half life-size) portrait bust of Marc Chagall in bronze. The patron, Marc Benatar, head of the committee for the Monument to Chagall, knew of Light’s work in France from the Einstein Memorial and others.

After considerable research, a photo collection was assembled. The likeness chosen was of Chagall in his mid-fifties, hard at work on a painting. Chagall had a playful personality, and the image contains the hint of a smile, as if he had just discovered a new means of expression on canvas.

Marc Chagall (born Marc Shagall) came into the world near Vitebsk, Belorussia, in 1887. His father was a laborer, his mother sold food out of the house. His career first took him to St. Petersburg for art training and then to Moscow, where he made sets and costumes for the Jewish Theater of Moscow. He went to Paris in 1910, later came back to Vitebsk and married his wife, Bella, then moved to Paris permanently.

It was in Paris that he developed the intense coloration, using primary colors, that was his trademark. It was there that he also developed his urban fantasy scenes often with a man and a woman (presumably Chagall and his wife) flying over a city. This was his own unique response to modernism and cubism. After this move to Paris, he rarely went back to Russia.

Chagall spent World War II in the United States (1942–1948.) After returning to Europe he moved to St. Paul de Vence in the region of Nice. It was here that he fashioned many of his stained-glass works. He died in St. Paul de Vence in 1985.