Five Figures (Study in Red)

Marc Chagall, French (born Russia), 1887 - 1985

Made in France, Europe

c. 1922

Gouache and graphite on paper

Sheet: 12 7/8 x 12 15/16 inches (32.7 x 32.9 cm)

© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Curatorial Department:
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The Louis E. Stern Collection, 1963

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This drawing appears to be a study for the print Fire in the City, which is the first illustration in Marc Chagall’s 1960 autobiography, My Life. Chagall begins the book with an account of the day he was born, when a terrible fire engulfed the Jewish quarter of his hometown, Vitebsk. The artist and his mother, still lying in bed, were carried into the streets and taken away to safety. Though his family’s home was ultimately spared, many parts of the town were left decimated. The procession of red figures across a disjointed space reflects the tumultuous events of that day.