Art inspires so many people, and during my recent vacation to the South of France I devoted some time to further learning about the art world. During this endeavor, I explored the life and work of the most prominent Jewish artist ever, Marc Chagall.
At the entrance to Saint-Paul de Vence, perhaps the most beautiful village I have ever visited in my life is an ode to Chagall. He lived in this French village for 20 years, and is buried there in the cemetery. And in this medieval village in modern-day Europe, his art which was full of colors and life and so warmly depicts the Jewish experience is very visible. The opportunity to learn more about him is very easy to do there.
Chagall was a man so immersed in Jewish culture, history and who based much of his work on the Torah. He said that visiting Palestine (Israel) in 1931 gave him “the most vivid impression he had ever received,” and was deeply moved by the holy places. He stated “In the East I found the Bible and part of my own being.” Raised in a Hasidic household, Chagall spoke fondly of the Torah “Ever since early childhood, I have been captivated by the Bible. It has always seemed to me and still seems today the greatest source of poetry of all time.”
Indeed, in the art world there is no Jewish artist who has had the influence of Chagall. There is so much of the Jewish experience which can be learned by further studying about Chagall. There is a Chagall hall at the Knesset, windows of Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, at Lincoln Center, the U.N. and so many other places.
The exhibit “Chagall: Love, War and Exile,” opens at the Jewish Museum of New York in September. As great as it is, am sure it won’t beat a visit to the South of France.