Following the GPS on the phone, we took a strange and strenuous walk up into the hills of Nice arriving at the museum in a hot lather, we pilgrims seeking Chagall.
First we saw the tapestries, paintings and studies of Chagall's Biblical Stories rendered with utter devotion by superlative weavers into richly shaded tapestries. Reverential silence filled the gallery rooms as people sifted by each other taking it in.
Chagall, a Belorussian by birth but most of his life spent in France, has always epitomized what I perceived as a French sensibility with his sweeping, swooping lovers with faces joined in a kiss; his colors of deep azure and cobalt blues scribbled over with quickly laced bouquets of flowers, inverted roosters, rams, acrobats and bulls, which turn again into angels, as womens' breasts morph into hillsides.
Chagall took all the exuberance of life and descended inward with it in an introspective embrace. His figures avert their solemn gazes in the face of mystery; they bow their heads and become human commas- ciphers even. Chagall's outer and inner worlds are always out-gassing and bubbling in the alchemist's retort, fluxing between states of liquid and ether, solid snd quintessence.
Here, Jacob wrestles with the angel of destiny, a hushed bowed Jacob weeps over Joseph's bloody coat--these images are so close to my heart as I have lived with Jacob's saga as if it were my own.
And then I reached the room filled with Chagall's Song of Songs paintings, all painted on rosy red ground, all of them holy and so intimate all at once.
Gwen had never seen me moved by art in this way-- what a revelation for both of us on so many levels.