Organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and initiated by the Philharmonie de Paris – Musée de la musique, and La Piscine – Musée d’art et d’industrie André Diligent, Roubaix, with the support of the Chagall Estate, this large-scale multidisciplinary exhibition explores, for the first time, the importance of music for Marc Chagall (1887-1985). The exhibition presents 400 works – paintings, sculptures, maquettes, gouaches, stained glass windows, photographs, films, costumes and puppets – many of which are little known by the public.
Music was a constant source of inspiration for the artist. A favourite subject for his creations, it served as an internal rhythm and driving force for his compositions, and a key to the intensity and range of colour in his work. His passion for music, closely linked to his family and the Jewish culture of Vitebsk, his native city in Belarus, is evident in the performances for which he created sets and costumes. The designs he created for the Jewish Theatre (Moscow, 1919-1920), as well as the ballets Aleko (Mexico, 1942), The Firebird (New York, 1945), Daphnis and Chloë (1958) and The Magic Flute (New York, 1967), demonstrate the links that the artist wove between music, sets and costumes. His large-scale works of the 1960s, especially the ceiling of the Opéra de Paris (1964) and the murals for the Metropolitan Opera at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York (1966), incarnate his concept of total art.