The exhibition Marc Chagall – World in Turmoil opens at the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Norway, on 17 March.
Marc Chagall is one of the most famous of Europe’s early modernist artists. He distinguished himself in many areas: as a painter, graphic artist, stage set designer and producer of decorative arts and crafts. The works of this multi-talented Jewish artist are often described as poetic, dreamlike and fantastical. Despite all the fantastical elements in his pictures, Chagall's art is always closely linked to his own personal experiences. This is particularly noticeable in the works he produced in the 1930s and 1940s, including those on display in this exhibition.
“This exhibition highlights a different and less well known side to Chagall. It is a powerful tale of a life and an art that was massively impacted by the political and social turmoil in early 20th century Europe. Chagall's contribution to art history is unique,” says Caroline Ugelstad, the exhibition's curator and director of collections and exhibitions at the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter.
The life and works of Marc Chagall were deeply influenced by the Nazis’ attitude to art, and the Holocaust. In the early 1930s, his works explored the increasingly aggressive anti-Semitism in Europe. In 1941, he was smuggled out of France and sought refuge in the USA. During these years, his works touch on important contemporary themes, such as identity, homeland and exile.
“Chagall relocated numerous times over the years. Sometimes voluntarily, sometimes because he had no other option. He became stateless several times, and also made use of a Nansen passport. The exhibition shows how Chagall attempted to find a suitable visual language for his experiences during World War II and for the Holocaust. It also addresses the experiences that many people today are living through,” says Ugelstad.
The exhibition comprises over 50 paintings and works on paper. It presents important works from the 1930s, a period when Chagall focused more and more on the Jewish world and turned towards allegorical and biblical themes. The exhibition also addresses the feeling of loss and the nostalgia he felt for his home town, Vitebsk, now in present-day Belarus.
This exhibition also gives the public a unique opportunity to experience Chagall as a costume designer, through eight of the costumes he designed for the ballet “Aleko” (1942) while he was living in exile in the USA.
An exhibition of Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt in cooperation with the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter. When it went on display at the SchirnKunsthalle, a record 243,000 people came to see it. The huge interest it attracted led to extended opening hours in its final month on show.
The exhibition's works have been lent by a number of international museums, as well as public and private art collections, including the Centre Pompidou in Paris; Moderna Museet in Stockholm; Musée National Marc Chagall in Nice; Estate Ida Chagall/Michel Brodsky, Paris/Basel; Sprengel Museum Hannover; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; and the Tate Modern in London.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue of newly written texts published by Hirmer Publishers and has been curated by Dr Ilka Voermann and the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter’s Caroline Ugelstad.
Title: Marc Chagall – World in turmoil
Artist: Marc Chagall
Curator: Caroline Ugelstad and Dr Ilka Voermann
Exhibition period: 17 March 2023 to 18 June 2023
Place: Henie Onstad Kunstsenter
Opening hours: Tuesday to Wednesday and Friday to Sunday: 11 am to 5 pm; Thursday: 11 am to 9 pm
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About Henie Onstad Kunstsenter
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Founded in 1968, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter is a private foundation established by Sonja Henie and Niels Onstad at Høvikodden in Norway. A leading arena for national and international art, it features a broad programme of interdisciplinary work presented in exhibitions and events that showcase both modern and contemporary art. To learn more, visit hok.no.
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