Marc Chagall's exhibition "Une vie entre guerre et paix" in Paris couldn't possibly have been carried out at a more appropriate time, once I have been sent there on a conference and had the unique opportunity to see it.
As soon as I left Orly airport I headed to the Saint Sulpice area, where the Luxembourg Museum is located, in what looked like a perfect Spring day to be immersed into those strong colours and fairly-like paintings, whose images had always caught my attention.
I had to queue for about half an hour before being allowed into the exhibition, which I felt was to be expected, despite the early hour, but once I walked in and grabbed an audio-guide, so as to better understand some of his paintings, the tiredness and degree of anxiety were "vanished".
Having lived through the twentieth century, experienced a revolution, two major wars and an exile period has provided Chagall with a rather exceptional perspective, which influenced his artistic approach, notably in this particular exhibition assembling around a hundred paintings and sketches, seems to highlight his home town Vitebsk, the Hasidic Jewish tradition, the Bible, the family, the couple and the circus.
I was impressed with the number of times his wife Bela was portrayed, clearly showing a strong marital bond and amorous feeling on their part.
It wasn't but half way through the exhibition that I realised photos of most paintings could be taken, though the increasing number of visitors didn't allow me to go back and photograph many of the ones I had just seen.
Songe d'une nuit d'été, 1939
La Cruxification en jaune, 1942 (left). La guerre, 1943 (right).
Résistence, 1937-1948 (left). Libération, 1937-1952 (right).
Autour d'elle, 1945
A ma femme, 1933-1944
Le paysage bleu, 1949
Monde rouge et noir (details) - 1951
Le Roi David (detail) - 1951
La danse, 1950 -1952
I was absolutely mesmerised ... and there are really no words to express what I really felt throughout the whole exhibition, which I wouldn't mind going back to any other given time. It may be about individual feelings, more than the impact the themes and the vibrant colours have on us as visitors, but the truth is I feel it might be almost impossible not to be touched by the beauty and "strength" these paintings convey.
I must say the three hour visit was really worth it ...