To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Chagall Museum, a plethora of guests have been parading since the beginning of the year to offer their unique perspectives on the artist’s work. This high place of spirituality was officially inaugurated by Marc Chagall himself on July 7th, 1973.
This July 7th, 1973, at the foot of the Cimiez hill in Nice, Marc Chagall celebrates its 86th birthday by inaugurating “his” museum and makes a speech in order to transmit also by words the universality and the spiritual dialogue of art:
“From my earliest youth, I have been captivated by the Bible. It has always seemed to me and still seems to me to be the greatest source of poetry of all time. Since then, I have sought this reflection in life and in Art. The Bible is like a resonance of nature and this secret I have tried to pass on. As I grow stronger, over the course of my life, although sometimes I feel like I am quite another; that I was born, one might say, between heaven and earth; that the world is for me a great desert in which my soul prowls like a torch, I made these paintings in unison with this distant dream. I wanted to leave them in this House so that people can find a certain peace, a certain spirituality, a religiosity, a meaning of life.
These paintings, in my mind, do not represent the dream of a single person but that of humanity. They are the result of my meeting with the French publisher Ambroise Vollard and my trip to the Orient. I thought of leaving them in France where I was born for the second time. It is not for me to comment on them. Works of art should speak for themselves. We often talk about the way, in which forms, in which Movement to place the color. But this color is an innate thing. It does not depend on the way or the form in which you pose it. Nor does it depend on the mastery of the brush. It is out of all Movements. Of all the Movements only those, very rare, have remained in history which possessed the innate color… The movements are forgotten. Painting, color, are they not inspired by Love? Isn’t painting only the reflection of our inner self? The color with its lines contains your character and your message. If all life inevitably comes to an end, we must during ours, color it with our colors of love and hope. In this love is the social logic of life and the essence of every religion. For me, perfection in Art and in life comes from this biblical source.
Without this spirit, the only mechanism of logic and constructivity in Art as in life does not yield positive results. Perhaps young and old people will come to this House in search of an ideal of fraternity and love such as my colors and my lines have dreamed of. Perhaps also the words of this love that I feel for all will be pronounced there. Perhaps there will be no more enemies and like a mother, with love and pain, gives birth to a child, so young and old people will build the world of love with a new color. And everyone, regardless of their religion, will be able to come and talk about this dream, far from wickedness and excitement. I would also like this place to exhibit works of art and documents of high spirituality of all peoples, to hear their music and their poetry dictated by the heart. Is this dream possible?
but in Art as in life, everything is possible if, at the base, there is Love.”
50 years later, anyone who opens the door to Chagall’s “house” can feel this love; whether through the mosaic Le Char d’Elie which he undertakes just after Le Message d’Ulysse, where the prophet stands on his chariot of fire, surrounded by the 12 signs of the zodiac or the 3 stained glass windows of La Création du monde which decorates the music room.
The exhibition Chagall & Me will last until January 8th, 2024.
Before leaving, also visit its garden, designed by Henri Fisch, to admire the olive trees, cypresses, and pines.
As the sun goes down and your appetite grows bigger, book online and head to the restaurant Jan. This intimate restaurant in Nice’s Old Port district, will take you on a culinary exploration using only local and seasonal ingredients from surrounding farms on the Cote d’Azur.
© Serge Bloch, un ange passe
Chagall, Le paradis (esquisse)