Brimming with youthful desire, fired by a love of all things new, and
possessed of a prodigious energy, the 22-year-old Marc Chagall arrived in
Paris in 1910, eager to immerse himself in the avant-garde styles of painting
that had been sweeping the city for at least a decade. With the death of Cézanne
in 1906 and access to a major exhibition of his works, new styles had sprouted
as suddenly and as prolifically as daffodils in spring. Chagall’s imagination
was fertile and receptive. He was fresh from his art studies at St Petersburg
and bound by a traditional upbringing in a small, provincial town in Belarus.
Within a year he had come to the attention of the Paris critics with the charming,
fanciful I and the Village (JAMA cover, July 16, 2003), which was based on the folklore of his native
Vitebsk. By 1913 he had become known internationally as well, when his work
was included in a major exhibition in Berlin. But Chagall, who often fondly
recalled his warm, Hassidic family in his native town, longed to see them,
especially the fiancée he had met in St Petersburg, Bella Rosenfeld.
Chagall (Moyshe to his family) left Paris in the summer of 1914.
Southgate MT. The Rabbi. JAMA. 2005;293(15):1832. doi:10.1001/jama.293.15.1832