Chagall: Fantasies for the Stage highlights the principal role that music and dance played in Chagall’s artistic practice. The performing arts were a significant source of inspiration for Chagall throughout his long career: he depicted musicians in many of his paintings, collaborated on set designs for the Ballet Russes in 1911, created murals and theatrical productions for the Moscow State Jewish Theater in the 1920s, and designed costumes and monumental sets for ballet and opera in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.
The exhibition concentrates on Chagall’s four productions for the stage—the ballets Aleko, set to music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1942), The Firebird by Igor Stravinsky (1945), Daphnis and Chloé by Maurice Ravel (1958), and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute (1967). The exhibition features the artist’s vibrant costumes and set designs—some of which have never been exhibited since they appeared on stage—and also presents a selection of iconic paintings depicting musicians and lyrical scenes, numerous works on paper, and documentary footage of original performances. In bringing these pieces together, Chagall: Fantasies for the Stage communicates the moving and celebratory power of music and art, and spotlights this important aspect of the artist’s career.