Transcending Boundaries: International Modern and Contemporary Art

Live Virtual Auction, 25 October 2023

International Modern and Contemporary Art

Sold for

ZAR 41 038
Lot 74
  • Marc Chagall; Isaiah, Bible No. 1 (Cramer 25, Mourlot 141)
  • Marc Chagall; Isaiah, Bible No. 1 (Cramer 25, Mourlot 141)
  • Marc Chagall; Isaiah, Bible No. 1 (Cramer 25, Mourlot 141)

Lot Estimate
ZAR 40 000 - 60 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 41 038

About this Item

Russian/French 1887-1985
Isaiah, Bible No. 1 (Cramer 25, Mourlot 141)

inscribed with the artist's name and the title in pencil on the mount

colour lithograph on card laid down on paper
image size: 35,5 by 26cm; sheet size: 41 by 32cm, unframed


The present lot is an original lithograph produced by the artist in an edition of 6500. Marc Chagall expressed his lifelong fascination with the Bible, considering it the ultimate source of poetic inspiration. In 1931, Chagall embarked on a monumental endeavour to illustrate the Bible, commissioned by the esteemed French art dealer Ambroise Vollard. With his Belarusian-Jewish background, Chagall eagerly travelled to Palestine, seeking inspiration from the Holy Land. The outcome was a remarkable series titled The Bible, which he dedicated 25 years to creating across two volumes. These works served as a testament to his enduring fascination with the splendour and tragedy of human existence. Chagall sought to convey the Bible’s profound connection to nature, viewing it as a mysterious reflection that he aimed to capture and convey through his art.

Marc Chagall was born Moishe Shagal to a Jewish family in Vitebsk, Belarus. Chagall studied painting in Vitebsk and, in 1907, he went to St. Petersburg, where he studied intermittently for three years, including under the stage designer Léon Bakst. In 1910, he moved to Paris, where he lived in La Ruche and was exposed to avant-garde poets and numerous art movements, including Expressionism, Fauvism, Impressionism, Cubism, and Abstraction. The four years spent in Paris would have a lasting influence on his work.

During World War I, he moved back to Vitebsk and then on to Moscow, before leaving Russia for good in 1922. He went to Berlin, where he learned engraving techniques, before settling in Paris. He spent time in the United States of America during World War II and eventually returned to France in 1948, where he continued to produce prolifically for the rest of his life.

Known as one of the masters of European Modernism, Chagall worked in several media, including painting, drawing, and printmaking. In his later years, he also designed stage sets, worked in stained glass and illustrated books. Chagall was one of the major innovators of the 20th-century School of Paris. He created richly coloured, poetic, dream-like, and often whimsical images using repetitive motifs of flying lovers, massive bouquets of flowers, fiddlers on roofs, and fantastical animals.

Chagall exhibited extensively throughout his lifetime and was recognised by a retrospective exhibition of his work held at the Louvre in Paris in 1977.

View all Marc Chagall lots for sale in this auction

Other lots that might interest you
John Piper; Homewithy
John Piper
ZAR 90 000 - 120 000
Henry Moore; Sculptural Object, Sculptural Objects Series (Cramer 7)
Henry Moore
Sculptural Object, Sculptural Objects Series (Cramer 7)
ZAR 14 000 - 18 000
Marc Chagall; Dedication (Mourlot 557)
Marc Chagall
Dedication (Mourlot 557)
ZAR 12 000 - 15 000
Marc Chagall; Nature Morte Aax Fleurs (Mourlot 922)
Marc Chagall
Nature Morte Aax Fleurs (Mourlot 922)
ZAR 6 000 - 8 000
Andy Warhol; Tattooed Woman Holding Rose
Andy Warhol
Tattooed Woman Holding Rose
ZAR 250 000 - 350 000
John Rattenbury Skeaping; Round the Water Hole
John Rattenbury Skeaping
Round the Water Hole
ZAR 12 000 - 16 000