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Chagall: Love and Exile Paperback – 1 Apr 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 642 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (1 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141009888
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141009889
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 4.1 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 501,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

Jackie Wullschlager's wonderful biography moves with sure speed and precise drama (A.S. Byatt Financial Times)

This is a masterly biography. Jackie Wullschlager has a painter's eye, a historian's grasp of context and a novelist's pace and momentum. She gives back to Chagall's paintings the sharpness and strangeness that they had for his contemporaries ... so gripping that I couldn't put the book down (Hilary Spurling)

From the Publisher

Winner of the European Craft Prize for 2008 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A splendid book. The portrayal of Chagall the man and of his family life are excellent, and the author has of course been helped by Chagall's own fascinating autobiographical writings. The interpretations of his paintings and etchings are very good - especially on the tension between and/or fusion of Russian and French, Jewish and Christian influences. The cultural and political background and how Chagall responded to them are very well described, particularly the artistic-cum-ideological struggle with Malevich on the one hand and socialist realism on the other during his years in the Soviet Union. We get vivid pictures of the Russian émigré communities in Berlin, Paris and New York. There is a good deal on what happened to other artists, especially Russian ones, during those terrible years.

The allocation of pages is about right also and reflects the importance of his art at various stages of his life: 245 pages on the 22 years - his most creative ones - of his career in pre-war Russia, his first stay in Paris, and his time in war-time and then Soviet Russia; 100 pages on the 21 years of his second stay in France; 50 pages on his seven years in the United States; and about 60 pages on his last 37 years back in Europe during which his art tended to be rather formulaic, with little that was new or creative. Wullschlager dates this deterioration to the death of Chagall's wife and muse Bella in 1944, who, in particular, represented his link with his Russian past; and in this last section she concentrates heavily and interestingly on Chagall's private life, devotes relatively little space to his paintings and then tends to comment on how inferior (though "enduringly popular") many of them were.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Couldn't finish it because it was so boring. It's a huge book where the author dedicates immense effort to discuss the (possible) personality Chagall's friends/lovers, no real core matter that can grab the reader in my opinion.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A splendid book. The portrayal of Chagall the man and of his family life are excellent, and the author has of course been helped by Chagall's own fascinating autobiographical writings. The interpretations of his paintings and etchings are very good - especially on the tension between and/or fusion of Russian and French, Jewish and Christian influences. The cultural and political background and how Chagall responded to them are very well described, particularly the artistic-cum-ideological struggle with Malevich on the one hand and socialist realism on the other during his years in the Soviet Union. We get vivid pictures of the Russian émigré communities in Berlin, Paris and New York. There is a good deal on what happened to other artists, especially Russian ones, during those terrible years.

The allocation of pages is about right also and reflects the importance of his art at various stages of his life: 245 pages on the 22 years - his most creative ones - of his career in pre-war Russia, his first stay in Paris, and his time in war-time and then Soviet Russia; 100 pages on the 21 years of his second stay in France; 50 pages on his seven years in the United States; and about 60 pages on his last 37 years back in Europe during which his art tended to be rather formulaic, with little that was new or creative. Wullschlager dates this deterioration to the death of Chagall's wife and muse Bella in 1944, who, in particular, represented his link with his Russian past; and in this last section she concentrates heavily and interestingly on Chagall's private life, devotes relatively little space to his paintings and then tends to comment on how inferior (though "enduringly popular") many of them were.
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Format: Paperback
I agree with all the other reviewers that this is a really splendid book. Jackie Wullschager is a very fine writer who presents a wonderfully engaging picture of Chagall.

One quibble: there is almost no information relating to the current whereabouts of any of the works -- including those reproduced in the book. All we get is a blanket copyright notice. Such a pity.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very good read, both scholarly and entertaining. Very informative, thought provoking not just about Chagall as artist but about Jews in Russia and then in exile. My only criticism is that it is a big, heavy book, impossible to read while lying down.
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