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Chagall: World in Turmoil at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt

November 4, 2022–February 19, 2023

Marc Chagall’s work seems to have no boundaries when it comes to fantasy (1887–1985). He is regarded as one of modern art’s most irrational painters. The first major exhibition of the painter in Germany in fifteen years will soon open at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt. Chagall: World in Turmoil throws light on a lesser-known aspect of his body of work: his works from the 1930s and 1940s, when his vibrant palette grew darker.

Chagall’s constant exposure to existential dangers as a Jew had a defining influence on both his life and his art. He began addressing the increasingly violent anti-Semitism in the early 1930s, and in 1941, as a result of persecution under the National Socialist administration, he finally immigrated to the United States. His recent artistic endeavors have addressed important issues like exile, home, and identity.

With this show, the Schirn offers a fresh and cutting-edge viewpoint on the body of work of one of the most significant painters of the twentieth century. The exhibition, which includes over sixty eerie paintings, drawings, and costumes from the 1930s and 1940s, follows the artist’s quest for a visual language in light of emigration, persecution, and displacement. It includes significant works in which Chagall focused more on the Jewish lifeworld, numerous self-portraits, his shift to allegorical and biblical themes while living in exile in the United States, the designs for the ballets Aleko (1942) and The Firebird (1945), the repeated examination of his hometown of Vitebsk (now in Belarus), and significant works like The Falling Angel (1923/1933/1947). The Schirn was successful in securing loans from various German and foreign museums, as well as from public and private collections, and was able to transport these pieces to Frankfurt am Main for the presentation.

An exhibition of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt in cooperation with the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo.

The exhibition Chagall: World in Turmoil is supported by the Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain and the Ernst Max von Grunelius-Stiftung. Additional funding has been provided by the Bank of America as partner of the Schirn, and further support by the Georg und Franziska Speyer’sche Hochschulstiftung.

catalog edited by Ilka Voermann has been published in German, English, and Norwegian in separate editions with a foreword by the director of the Schirn, Sebastian Baden, and Tone Hansen, director emeritus of the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, and contributions by Ziva Amishai-Maisels, Anna Huber, Leon Joskowitz, Sabine Koller, and Ilka Voermann.

A free digital tutorial guide, the Digitorial®, is available online here.

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
60311 Frankfurt am Main
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