1887 - 1985
limited edition portfolio of lithographs
signed in graphite, editioned 94, dated 1967 on the justification page and inscribed in ink by the artist 'Pour M. Liverant en bon souvenir, 1979, Marc Chagall'
16 3/4 x 12 3/4 po, 42.5 x 32.4 cm
Estimation : $100,000 - $150,000
Vendu pour : $115,250
Exposition à : Heffel Toronto – 13 avenue Hazelton
Acquired directly from the Artist by Joseph Liverant (1894 - 1981)
By descent within the family to the present Private Estate
Fernand Mourlot and Charles Sorlier, The Lithographs of Chagall Volume III: 1962 - 1968, 1969, reproduced pages 126 - 139, listed page 179, catalogue #490 - 527
This lot presents the complete portfolio of 38 lithographs, 23 printed in colours and published in 1967. It is signed and dedicated in ink on the justification page, numbered 94 from the total edition of 270, loose (as issued), on Arches wove paper, with in- and hors-texte, printed by Mourlot, Paris, published by Tériade Éditions, Paris, within the original paper wrapper with title and cream cloth-covered portfolio with gilt lettering on the spine and matching slipcase. The portfolio measures: 17 3/4 x 13 1/2 x 2 1/4 inches (45 x 34.3 x 5.7 cm.)
Cirque is regarded as one of the finest examples of Chagall’s printmaking oeuvre. It comprises 38 lithographs (23 in glorious deep colour) that illustrate the joy and exuberance of the circus. Chagall saw the circus as a parallel to real life, a magical world that was also a form of art. His interest in the circus started early. He attended performances during his childhood in Vitebsk, Belarus (then part of the Russian Empire) and later, in the 1920s in Paris, in the company of Ambroise Vollard. Encouraged by Vollard, he started working on preparatory gouache sketches for a circus series and the theme of the circus was the subject of some of his most important canvases but it was not until the 1960s that the Cirque folio project was finally completed.
This folio is from the collection of Joseph Liverant, a friend of Marc Chagall. Mr. Liverant was born in Miedzyrzecz, Poland (then part of the Russian Empire) in 1894. He established a successful business in Germany but had to flee that country with the rise of Nazism in the 1930s. Fortunately, he was granted refugee status in Canada, where he used his natural flair for business to develop the international company that he had started in Europe. He was forever grateful for the opportunities that Canada gave him and, in appreciation of this, significant works from his art collection were donated to the National Gallery of Canada.
In semi-retirement, he had an apartment in Monaco and a second apartment in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, France, not far from Chagall’s home near Saint Paul-de-Vence. Chagall and Liverant mixed in the same social circles and a warm friendship developed between them. The two men shared much in common. Both were multi-lingual Jewish ex-pats, were of a similar age, had many common interests and, of course, a love of art.
This work was acquired directly from the artist in 1979. After Mr. Liverant's death in 1981, it was passed to his wife Marguerite, and subsequently to her son, from whose estate this work is being sold.
Additional images of this work are available on request.
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