Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Lovers among Lilacs

Artist:
Marc Chagall (French, Vitebsk 1887–1985 Saint-Paul-de-Vence)
Date:
1930
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
51 3/4 × 35 1/4 in. (131.4 × 89.5 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Bequest of Richard S. Zeisler, 2007
Accession Number:
2007.247.2
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 901
Born near the village of Vitebsk in present-day Belarus, Chagall moved to Paris in 1923 to escape the hardships of Soviet life following World War I and the October Revolution. Living in greater comfort in Paris, Chagall blossomed creatively, and his work from this period radiates tenderness and joy. In Lovers among Lilacs, a couple embraces, nestled in a fantastically oversized bouquet of fragrant flowers. The whimsical, romantic arrangement dominates the composition, providing the lovers with a safe haven from work and worry.
Inscription: Signed (lower left): Chagall
[Nierendorf Gallery, New York, possibly by 1936–at least 1945]; Josef von Sternberg, Los Angeles (by 1946–49; his sale, Parke Bernet Galleries, New York, November 22, 1949, no. 93, as "Les Amoureux dans les fleurs," sold to Zeisler); Richard S. Zeisler (1949–d. 2007; his bequest to MMA)

Paris. Le Portique. "20 Tableaux récents de Marc Chagall et quelques dessins de jeunesse inédits," June 13–30, 1931, no. 1 or no. 4 (as "Les Amoureux" or "Lilas").

Kunsthalle Basel. "Marc Chagall," November 4–December 3, 1933, no. 86 (as "Grand bouquet," 1932–33) [probably this picture].

Pittsburgh. Carnegie Institute. "The 1936 International Exhibition of Paintings," October 15–December 6, 1936, no. 153 (as "Lovers among the Flowers").

Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Marc Chagall," April 9–June 16, 1946, no. 40 (as "The Lovers in the Flowers [Lilacs]," 1931, lent by Josef von Sternberg, Hollywood).

Art Institute of Chicago. "Marc Chagall: Paintings, Prints and Drawings," November 14, 1946–January 12, 1947, no. 40.

Newark Museum. "Flower Paintings by European Masters of the 19th and 20th Centuries," May 16–June 25, 1950, no. 3 (as "Lilacs or Les Amoureux dans les Fleurs," lent by Richard S. Zeisler).

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "European Masters of Our Time," October 10–November 17, 1957, no. 25 (as "Lovers in the Flowers," lent by Richard S. Zeisler, New York).

Art Center in La Jolla. "Marc Chagall 75th Anniversary Exhibition," October 1–November 11, 1962, no. 24 (as "Lovers in the Flowers [Lilacs]," lent by Mr. Richard S. Zeisler, New York City).

Kunsthaus Zürich. "Chagall," May 6–July 30, 1967, no. 97 (as "Die Liebenden im Flieder," lent by Richard S. Zeisler, New York).

Cologne. Wallraf-Richartz-Museum. "Marc Chagall: Werke aus sechs Jahrzehnten," September 2–October 31, 1967, no. 109 (as "Die Liebenden im Flieder," lent by Richard S. Zeisler, New York).

London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Chagall," January 11–March 31, 1985, no. 77 (as "Lovers in the Lilacs [Les amoureux aux lilas]," lent by Richard S. Zeisler, New York).

Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Chagall," May 12–July 7, 1985, extended to July 21, 1985, no. 77.

Jewish Museum, New York. "The Circle of Montparnasse: Jewish Artists in Paris 1905–1945," October 22, 1985–February 2, 1986, not in catalogue.

Roslyn Harbor, N. Y. Nassau County Museum of Art. "Marc Chagall," July 21–November 4, 2012, unnumbered cat. (fig. 15; as "Lovers Among the Lilacs").

Jewish Museum, New York. "Chagall: Love, War, and Exile," September 15, 2013–February 2, 2014, not in catalogue.

C[hristian]. Z[ervos]. "Note sur une exposition d'oeuvres récentes de Chagall." Cahiers d'art 6, nos. 7–8 (1931), ill. p. 349 (sideways), calls it "Les Amants".

Herbert Read. Art Now: An Introduction to the Theory of Modern Painting and Sculpture. London, 1933, pl. 34, calls it "Lilac above the River" and dates it 1931.

Margaret Breuning. "Carnegie International, 1936." Parnassus 8 (November 1936), p. 7, ill. p. 5, calls it "Lovers among Flowers" in the text and "Lovers among the Flowers" in the caption.

Lionello Venturi. Marc Chagall. New York, 1945, pp. 36, 39, pl. 33, calls it "Lilacs"; lists it as courtesy of Nierendorf Gallery, New York.

"Auctions Planned of Art Collection." New York Times (November 20, 1949), p. 96.

Charles Estienne. Chagall. Paris, 1951, pl. 55, calls it "Les Lilas" and erroneously locates it still in the von Sternberg collection, New York.

Emily Genauer. Marc Chagall (born 1889). New York, 1956, unpaginated, colorpls. 21, 22 (overall and detail), calls it "Lovers in the Lilacs" and dates it 1931.

Walter Erben. Marc Chagall. New York, 1957, p. 95, pl. 27, calls it "The Lovers in the Lilacs" and dates it 1931.

Franz Meyer. Marc Chagall. 2nd ed. (1st ed. German, 1961). New York, [1964], pp. 397, 756, Classified Catalogue no. 603, ill. n. p., calls it "Lovers in the Lilacs (Les amoureux aux lilas)".

Susan Compton. Chagall. Exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts. London, 1985, pp. 211–12, no. 77, ill. pp. 108 (color), 211.

Susan Compton. "Marc Chagall: Modern Master of Imagination." Horizon 28 (May 1985), p. 56, ill. (color detail).

Robert Wernick. "In His Tenth Decade, Marc Chagall's Brush Still Danced." Smithsonian 16 (May 1985), pp. 66–67, ill. (color).

Shunsuke Kijima in Chagall. Ed. Shunsuke Kijima. Exh. cat., Bunkamura Museum of Art. Tokyo, 1989, pp. 39, 47, fig. 11.

Monica Bohm-Duchen. Chagall. London, 1998, pp. 195, 209, fig. 139 (color), calls it "Lovers in the Lilacs," in a private collection.

Constance Schwartz. Chagall. Exh. cat., Nassau County Museum of Art. [Roslyn Harbor, N. Y.], 2012, pp. 21–22, fig. 15 (color).



Related Objects

The Statuary and the Statue of Jupiter

Artist: Marc Chagall (French, Vitebsk 1887–1985 Saint-Paul-de-Vence) Date: ca. 1930 Medium: Hand-colored etching Accession: 57.657.20 On view in:Not on view

Bella

Artist: Marc Chagall (French, Vitebsk 1887–1985 Saint-Paul-de-Vence) Date: 1924 Medium: Etching with drypoint; second state of two Accession: 1985.1011 On view in:Not on view

Rooster with Crescent

Artist: Marc Chagall (French, Vitebsk 1887–1985 Saint-Paul-de-Vence) Date: 1957 Medium: Lithograph Accession: 67.813.4 On view in:Not on view

The Dead and the Miserable

Artist: Marc Chagall (French, Vitebsk 1887–1985 Saint-Paul-de-Vence) Date: 1927–30 Medium: Etching Accession: 57.657.19 On view in:Not on view

Julnar the Sea-Born and her Son King Badr Basim of Persia

Artist: Marc Chagall (French, Vitebsk 1887–1985 Saint-Paul-de-Vence) Date: 1948 Medium: Lithograph Accession: 1971.640.2 On view in:Not on view