Marc Chagall

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“Couple aux deux bouquets” portrays a pair of lovers contrasted with a double bouquet of flowers, two of the most constant motifs that appear throughout Chagall’s career. Painted during the prolific final years of his life, Chagall can be seen to be reflecting on his long career though the themes in this painting. The lovers are portrayed here as Chagall himself and his first wife Bella, who died suddenly from a bacterial infection in 1944. Throughout the rest of his career, Chagall portrayed Bella as the eternal bride, and the companion to his self-portrait in the Lovers motif.

The double bouquet of flowers is a metaphorical companion to the lovers, their rich colour representing the love that exists between the couple. A constant feature in his works since his earliest days in Paris in the 1910s, the bouquets would most likely have been painted from life. Chagall had fresh bouquets of flowers brought to his studio daily, and his home in Provence would have provided a riotously colourful range of wild flowers from which he could draw inspiration.
Among the other themes identifiable in this work, the viewer can clearly make out the rooster. This motif, especially common in conjunction with the Lovers, is representative of fertility and Chagall’s rural roots in his home town of Vitebsk, in what is now Belarus. The rooster is a link between Chagall and his early life, including his courtship of Bella.

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