Marc Chagall

Marc Chagall, who repeatedly mentions Rembrandt as a painter-printmaker when he makes prints, talks about his fascination with printmaking: «When I hold a lithographic stone or a copper plate I think I touch an object with supernatural powers. It seems to me that I can put on it all my sorrows and joys, everything that I have experienced in the course of my life». Since 1935, he has been constantly creating series, a illustrator of books that will never be published, or much later. He creates the drypoints of his manuscript My Life, the etchings illustrating Gogol’s novel Dead Souls. For Jean de la Fontaine’s Fables and The Bible, he initially paints pictures with gouache, which are intended to be etched by professional printmakers. He ends up doing himself the etchings and aquatints since Vollard’s two publishing projects are not implemented.

The Fables shall be published in Paris after World War II thanks to Stratis Eleftheriades, a Greek publisher from Lesvos, known as Tériade. However, the artist wants colours so he first colours some copies of his series with gouache and aquarelle. In the United States where he goes as a war refugee, he discovers the technique of lithography, which allows the explosion of colours that characterizes him. Lithography becomes the medium of expression of the printmaker, for marvellous series:The Circus,One Thousand and One Nights,Daphnis and Chloe… He also creates linocuts with the white-line technique. At the end of his life he creates some woodcuts, wood engravings and monotypes.