Marc Chagall

Chagall had been exploring the theme of lovers embraced amidst vibrant bouquets of flowers since the 1920s. To the artist, flowers symbolised life itself. His granddaughter, Bella Meyer, recalls that “Colours were more important [for Chagall] than the type of flower. I doubt he knew the names of flowers, but he was in awe of bouquet gifts.”
In “Couple aux fleurs et raisins”, the profusion of flowers serves as a mechanism to both conceal and unveil love. The male figure appears to float behind the bouquet, and his outstretched hand guides the viewer’s gaze toward the exposed female figure. Moreover, the artwork includes a plate of grapes, with fruit often symbolising abundance – a motif frequently used by Chagall in works of a similar vein.
For Chagall, colour had always been one of the most essential elements of a composition. The painter described it as “the pulse of a work of art.” (quoted in J. Baal-Teshuva, ed., Chagall: A Retrospective, Connecticut, 1995, p. 180) In this work on paper, the vibrant colour palette is used innovatively, especially in depicting the two figures. Their heads are outlined in green, and the man’s hand, almost symbolic, is highlighted in blue. Innovation in Chagall’s use of colour began to evolve during the 1960s and 70s through the artist’s experience working with glass, which he applied to his paintings and works on paper. The effect in this artwork is one that seamlessly integrates the duo into the greenery of the floral display, subtly emphasising their love and their connection to bouquet gifts that express their feelings.

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