This work combines Chagall’s love for folklore and fantasy. The naive style and subject reflect his interest in folklore traditions whilst the almost claustrophobic arrangement gives it a fantastical twist. It’s not clear which folktale he’s referring to which suggests it was inspired by Chagall’s nostalgic memories of his childhood in Russia rather than a specific narrative.
The Green Donkey
Magic Realism: Art in Weimar Germany 1919-33
32.4 x 41.3 cm
Date of work
Gouache on board 32.4 x 41.3 cm © Chagall/DACS
Russian-born artist Marc Chagall was born in Vitebsk to a religious Hasidic Jewish family. He was encouraged early on by his mother Feiga-Ita to study art locally before moving to St Petersburg and then later Paris in 1910. Chagall was not only a talented artist but also a ceramicist, sculptor and draughtsman. In his later years he was regarded as a leading stained glass artist. Chagall’s work is instantly recognisable by his use of expressive colour and dreamlike subjects. He was somewhat influenced by Cubism, however his consistent use of fantasy and folklore imagery means his work is quite unique. Chagall died in 1985 at the age of 97, working on drawings, lithographs and watercolours until almost the end.