International Marc Chagall Days Begin in Vitebsk, Belarus, Today

Today, in the city of Vitebsk, Belarus, International Marc Chagall Days begin to last through tomorrow before moving to Minsk, honouring the world-renowned artist on his 115th birthday. Lyudmila Khmelnitskaya, Director of the Marc Chagall museum in Vitebsk, said the visitors who had arrived represented 9 countries, some of them well known researchers of the heritage of this acknowledged leader of the 20th century's Avant-garde in art.

The honorary guests include Meret Meyer Graber from France, Marc Chagall's granddaughter, Sylvia Forestier, Honorary Director of the Biblical Message from Marc Chagall national museum in Niece, Dr. Henry Mandel from Germany who donated a large number of books and Chagall's original prints. Mrs. Khmelnitskaya said, 'it is exactly Mr. Mandel's latest gift of 1,200 books that will allow us to open a specialised library on Marc Chagall and on the art of the early 20th century'. While the commemorative celebration continues, Marc Chagall readings will be held, their topic 'Lanscape in the Art of Chagall'.

Marc Chagall was born on July 7, 1887, in the Liozno, a suburb of Vitebsk. His father was a merchant. Marc received traditional religious education at home. Later he met Yuri Pen, a well-known painter from Vitebsk who accepted Mark to his studio. In 1907, Marc Chagall moved to St. Petersburg where he joined the school of the Society of Art Supporters where he studied under Nikolai Rerich. From 1910 through 1914 the artist lived in Paris where he became close friends with G. Apolliner, M. Jacob, A. Dalmon, and other Avant-garde artists.

In 1914, Marc Chagall returned to Russia where in 1918 he was appointed to oversee arts in the Vitebsk Province. He was the initiator of the founding, in 1919, of the Vitebsk Practical Institute for Arts. On July 29, 1920, Mr. Chagall went to live in Moscow where he designed costumes and sceneries for the Moscow Chamber Jewish Theatre. In 1923, the artist was back in France.

By mid-20th century, Marc Chagall became known throughout the world. In 1973, he visited Moscow, an exhibit of his works opening at the State Tretyakov Gallery.

Marc Chagall died on March 28, 1985, in Saint Paul de Vence, France, and was buried there. In 1992, in Vitebsk, in Pokrov Street, a monument to the great Avant-garde artist was opened, a memorial plaque affixed to the house he lived in.

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