Chagall, Marc “Ulysses and Euryclea”

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After two visits to Greece in 1952 and 1954, Chagall drew much of his inspiration from the mythological motifs dated from Greek Antiquity. It is said of Chagall that he had a Greek view of humanism; the human is only unveiled in divine light while, derived of God, man exists in obscurity and without differentiation. In the tribute he pays to Homers epic poem with the publication of “The Odyssey” in 1974 and 1975, Marc Chagall illustrates precisely the main stages of the text, in a rare delight of fresh and vivid colors. Some of the lithographic images printed required as many as 20 color layers.

Chagall captures the atmosphere of the epic through his depictions of the landscape characterized by the sea and Antic Temples, intense sunlight and in his fantastic figures of the Minotaur, Gilgamesh, angels, which act as visible signs of the roles played by the Gods. With their meaningful gestures, the human figures conjure up precisely and tenderly the liveliness of Mediterranean populations.

Chagall’s lithographs for “The Odyssey” were run off the presses of the Mourlot workshop in Paris in a small edition. None of the proofs in the first book were signed. In addition, 30 numbered signed proofs on Japan nacreous paper with wide margins were printed of all the colored plates and reserved for the artist and the publisher. Due to a printing error, the proofs numbered 24 to 30 of the plate Ulysses and Penelope (823) were run off on Arches wove paper instead of Japan nacreous paper. The publisher was Fernand Mourlot.

This is one of the “afters” printed by permission from Chagall the year he died, 1985. It was printed in full color on lithographic stone by Daco-Verlag Gunter Blase in Stuttgart Germany in a limited edition. This is a Chagall, but a more affordable printing. The frame is 22″ x 25″ and the image is fully matted measuring 11.5″ x 15″.


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