Marc Chagall - The Bridge


Original wash, brush and ink, pencil and crayon on paper, signed by the artist and dated “Chagall 1910 (Lower left), inscribed in Cyrillic “Bridge” lower right.

Size:   217 x 163 mms

Provenance: David McNeil (The artists son), Paris, by decent (D.883)

Chagall’s first wife, Bella, died tragically at a young age in 1944. For months after her death Chagall could not work but was helped through the crisis by his daughter, Ida. Ida hired an English French speaking maid called Virgina McNiel to take care of her father and Virginia became the artist’s muse until 1951. She was the mother of David McNiel from whose inheritance this present work comes.

Acquired by the last owner in 1987


Milan, Studio Marconi, Marc Chagall, Disegni inediti dalla Russia a Parigi, May - July 1988; This exhibition later travelled to Turin

Galleria della Sindone, Palazzo Reale; Dec 1990 - Mar 1991

Catania, Monastrero dei Benedettini, Oct - Nov 1994 ;

Meina, Museo e centro studi per il disegno, June - Aug 1996

Hannover, Sprengel Museum, Marc Chagall “Himmel und Erde” Dec 1996 - Feb 1997

Darmstadt, Institute Mathildenhohe, Marc Chagall, Von Russland bis Paris, Zeichnungen 1906 - 1967 : Dec 1997 - Jan 1998

Abbazia Olivetana, Fondazione Ambrosetti, Marc Chagall, Il messaggio biblio, May -July 1998

Klagenfurt, Statgalerie, Marc Chagall, Feb - May 2000, p.17 (illustrated)

Florida: Boca Raton Museum of Art, Chagall, Jan - Marc 2002

Note: Chagall chose the simple subject of a bridge, probably one over the Dvina River by Vitebesk, yet he executed it with such movement and violent expressionist brushstrokes. the whole scene seems turbulent and stormy, with the dark sky and the criss cross of lines constructing the bridge. Even the dark figure on the bridge seems to be fighting its way against the flow of Chagall’s brushstrokes. The Cyrillic inscription of “the bridge” could perhaps be a reference to the artist’s encounter with Bella whom he had met in the previous year through Thea Brachman. One of the chapters in Bella’s book of memories, “Erst Begegnung” bears the title “The Bridge” where she describes how fascinated she was by Chagall, with his wild and ambitious character. The river appears to have a deep significance for Chagall in his inner search for the soul,d, as he writes in “My Life”. “I see the river flowing away into the distance, the bridge beyond, and close at hand, the eternal barrier, the earth, the grave. Here is my soul. Look for me here” (Page 16).

Literature: V. Rakitin: “Chagall, Disegni inediti dalla Russe a Parigi, Milan, 1989. p.42 ( 43)

Authentication: This work is sold with a photo-certificate from David McNiel, the artists son

Condition: Dry mounted onto board (will easily be removed) - otherwise in very good condition