At the State Hermitage Museum ( Palace square , 2 ) a new exhibition was opened - Marc Chagall: livre d'artiste (the artist's book). This book was a special type of publication, produced at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The illustrative and compositional elements were executed using the same techniques employed in the original engraving (etching, lithography, xylography etc.). This creative work grants a great deal of freedom to leading artists rather than the professional engravers and illustrators. The print run for the publication is strictly limited.
The State Hermitage Museum collection of Chagall’s books numbers eleven publications, which were acquired by the museum in the 1980s (nine of these were given by the author himself). They were displayed in entirety in 1987. The current exhibition is small, comprising prints of five books – from large projects in the 1920s, executed in black and white engravings in metal, to work from the 1960s (coloured lithography and xylography). Without pretending to completeness, the livre d'artiste exhibition gives a representation of the main features of Chagall's creativity – both as an illustrator (interpreter), and as a master of the print.
The first major works by the artist in livre d'artiste are associated with the name of the famous Parisian art dealer and publisher Ambroise Vollard. In 1923-25 Vollard commissioned Chagall to execute 96 metal engravings to illustrate Dead Souls. The engravings were to be published in 1927, but Vollard for unknown reasons delayed the publications. The book, including the engravings for the first publication was released in 1948 by a different publisher – Tériade (real name Stratis Eleftheriades). The publication included a list of illustrations: 11 etchings, reproducing all the engravings at a smaller size, and 11 headpieces with initials (evidence about the creation of these additional images is essentially lacking and needs clarification).
The exposition is opened till the 25th of November.
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: