I Own a Marc Chagall

OK. so it’s not an original painting but a stamp. Collecting art on stamps is a very nice way of owning the art you admire until such day when you are able to go into one of those auction houses and blow the equivalent of the national debt on the price of an original. Until then I’m very happy to admire my miniature art collection.

 Please watch your feet as I step out of my box and leave Hawaii and take you vicariously  to France.

Paris the city of lovers.  French a romance language. France the one time Mecca of the artist. What do flying chickens and musical goats have to do with France and art?

In the past all artist’s felt it was important to study in Paris before ones work could be taken seriously. It seems natural that France would be among those to reproduce art onto stamps.  According to M.W. Martin in his book, Topical Stamp Collecting, the idea of reproducing paintings onto stamps came from France.

In 1961 France issued over-sized stamps featuring the works of the French masters.  One particular set released in 1963 included some of the work of Marc Chagall.

Though France thought of Chagall as one of their own, he thought of himself as a Russian artist.

He was born in the small Russian village of Vitebsk and was of Jewish decent.  He would eventually leave Russia, much to his sadness and settle in France.

Throughout his life he would never forget his home and would continue to incorporate the village and its inhabitants in many colorful ways onto his canvases.  His first wife, Bella, was a major inspiration in his work and the subject of many of his pieces.

You see here one of his paintings that France chose to put on a stamp, “Married Couple With Eiffel Tower.”

When you first look at the work of Chagall you might be taken aback.  Many times you will see lovers, bent like willows, entwined, floating.  Soft eyed donkeys, goats and chickens carry passengers or play musical instruments and they too float through the air.  The work may impress one as a fantasy.

Despite everything in this painting that seems so out of contrast, as you study it, you might see it as a very poetic and romantic story of a couple who have just gotten married.  If you look on the left side of the stamp, you will see a Jewish wedding taking place.  France is represented by the Eiffel Tower where the couple might live as expressed by the size of the tower.  The memory of where they were married and where they were from is still close to their heart as depicted by the village in the lower right corner.

Not all of Chagall’s work is easy to understand and, yes it’s open to interpretation.  Even Chagall said his work did not necessarily have a meaning and if you look at some of his other work you would be hard pressed to find one.

I though, have found the colors spectacular and the whimsy of his subjects brings a smile to my lips.

So, can people really fly? I don’t know.  There has been many a time that I have heard someone say they were so in love they felt like they were walking on clouds or soaring through the air.  What better place to honeymoon than Paris. As for music, one hears violins where there are none when your heart has been captured.

OK, so the goat is the musician, but he’s a happy goat.  As I look at this stamp, Chagall has managed to convey to me that, here are two people truly in love.  So to this painting, I can only say, Mazel Tov!

7 comments on “I Own a Marc Chagall

  1. nancy schwalb says:

    how can I buy this print of the Chagall stamp?


  2. […] I Own a Marc Chagall (kareninhonolulu.wordpress.com) […]


  3. Sartenada says:

    I recognized immediately who’s painting it was in the stamp. In between 25.5.-29.8.1993 we had in Finland in the place called Retretti, exhibition if Marc Chagall. We enjoyed it great. From there we bought a small piece of copy from his paintings and my we put it on the wall of our bedroom. It is presenting Pink Lady in the air over green roofs.

    I have had stamp collection, but it was lost somewhere when we moved. Well, it happens.

    Great post Karen.


    • Thank you Sartenada, That Chagall that you purchased sounds so colorful and that is what I love so much about his work. I have a stamp collection that is really, really neglected. Just too many hobbies and not enough time.


  4. I love Chagall’s work, I don’t understand it but they seem so whimsical and the colours are delightful. Collecting stamps is something I did as a child, will have to find my old albums and see if I have any famous artworks among them.


    • Thanks for taking the time to read the article as I know it isn’t travel but sometimes I just like to talk about something else. There are some beautiful stamps with gorgeous artwork. Stamps from England are my favorite though their not art work they are done so well.


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