Marc Chagall was born on July 7, 1887 in Liozno in the suburbs of Vitebsk, in Belarus (which belonged then to Tsarist Russia), naturalized French in 1937 and died on March 28, 1985 in Saint-Paul de Vence. The eldest of a family of 9 children, he began working in workshops at the end of his studies at the Saint Petersburg School of Fine Arts. In 1910 he went to Paris to study with Léon Bakst thanks to a scholarship and exhibited his work for the first time in 1914. There he witnessed pictorial movements such as the dying Fauvism and the emerging Cubism. The former inspired him with pure, cheerful and clear color, the latter with a certain deconstruction of the object. Nevertheless, Chagall never fully adhered to any movement or school. While adopting Paris as his second hometown, he did not forget his Russian origins, as a matter of proof: when he painted the bridges of the Seine or the Eiffel Tower, one can recognize elements of decoration inspired by his childhood memories that never left him.

In 1914 he returned to Vitebsk for what he thought would be a short time, but the First World War prevented him from coming back to Paris. During this period Chagall mainly painted the life of the Jewish community in his hometown. Appointed director of the Academy of Fine Arts in Vitebsk, he was supplanted by Kasimir Malevitch in 1919. He then left for Moscow where he did the sets for the Jewish Art Theatre. In 1922 he returned to Berlin and then to Paris. At the same period his works are starting to be known in the United States, where exhibitions are organized.

In 1923, Chagall met Ambroise Vollard, a merchant and book publisher who commissioned him to paint 30 gouaches and 100 etchings illustrating the Fables of La Fontaine (1924-1925), 118 etchings for the Dead Souls of Nicolas Gogol (1925-1931), but also and above all illustrations for the Bible (1930). In the early 1930s he travelled a lot with his family. On July 7, 1937 he took French nationality to escape the anti-Semitism of Central Europe. At the end of the spring of 1941, he is arrested, and owes his salvation to the American journalist Varian Fry, who allows him to reach the United States. His wife, Bella, died in 1944; this event marked the choice of his subjects at that time.

After the war, Chagall’s works are exhibited once again in Europe. In 1948 he decided to move back to France and settled in Vence, where he helped Frans Krajcberg to leave for Brazil. He remarried in 1952 with Valentina Brodsky. After his trip to Israel, Chagall described the Bible “as the greatest source of poetry of all time” and from then on, he said he “sought this reflection in life and in art”. This marked the beginning of a new era of artistic creation for Chagall. Since then, he devoted his work to the biblical theme, translating Sacred Scripture first in gouaches and then in engravings. This monumental work is at the origin of the biblical message, which consists of a decorative cycle recounting the biblical story, completed in 1966. Chagall donated it to the French State, which ended up exhibiting it in the Louvre. Later his work inaugurated the National Museum of the Biblical Message in Nice in 1973, in the presence of André Malraux.

At the same time, famous art dealers sell his works all over the world. His techniques diversify: engravings, mosaics, stained-glass windows, lithographs … He continues to paint sets and design costumes for the opera.

Marc Chagall ends his life in Saint-Paul de Vence, famous and esteemed.