Chagall: Colour And Music

28 Jan — 11 Jun 2017 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal, Canada

23 FEBRUARY 2017
Chagall: Colour And Music, Exhibition view. Courtesy of The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Chagall: Colour And Music, Exhibition view. Courtesy of The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) presents Chagall: Colour And Music, the largest exhibition ever devoted to Marc Chagall (1887-1985) in Canada. The exhibition explores, for the first time, the omnipresence of music in the artist’s life and work, through close to 340 works and a major documentary corpus. This unusual approach demonstrates the degree to which Chagall’s aesthetic and artistic world is imbued with music, from his paintings, works on paper, costumes, sculptures, ceramics, stained glass and tapestries, to his creations for the stage and his grand decorative and architectural projects.

This major exhibition reveals some fabulous costumes rarely seen by the public and some decors produced by the artist for the ballets Aleko (1942), The Firebird (1945) and Daphnis and Chloé (1958-59), and the opera The Magic Flute (1967), thanks to some exceptional loans granted by the Opéra de Paris, the New York City Ballet and the New York Metropolitan Opera. They are staged in such a way as to recreate the particular atmosphere of each show by means of subtle special effects.

With its fully spatialized musical accompaniment, the exhibition is accompanied by various multimedia devices: music, films, photo slides and especially an extraordinary projection of the famous ceiling of the Opéra de Paris, in the Palais Garnier. In partnership with the Opéra national de Paris, Google lab and Google Art Project in Paris digitized in ultra-high definition this 220 m2 painting completed in 1964 by Chagall. A huge technological challenge, some stunning zoom effects were used on these images to reveal the splendour of the material and the meticulous detail, which up to now have been invisible to the naked eye, of this monumental decor, Chagall’s tribute to 14 composers.

The exhibition also explains how the ceiling of the Opéra de Paris, and the decorative and architectural programme of the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York (1966) embody the concept of total art dear to the artist and testify to his research into the universality of music and how it is revealed in architecture.