May 26, 2016
Poetry Friday--Marc Chagall
Last Friday, Michelle H. Barnes posted a poem, "Chagall's Muse," which she had written for her husband on their anniversary. The subject is Marc Chagall. His first wife, Bella, with whom he was very happy, is the speaker.
After viewing a video Michelle shared. I remembered a book I had purchased from a book fair in elementary school, Famous Paintings by Alice Elizabeth Chase (©1951). It was a favorite book, but I never read it, I simply spent time with the paintings, one of which was by Marc Chagall.
Here's the Chagall piece, "Snowing," which the caption lists as owned by St. Louis, City Art Museum.
Since my book is titled, Famous Paintings, I assumed "Snowing" is a well-known piece. Funny thing, though, I spent a number of hours looking at Chagall's paintings and drawings online, and I didn't see "Snowing" in any of the sources I looked at. I checked the St. Louis Art Museum's site and there was only one Chagall piece listed and it is titled. "Temptation" (a.k.a. "Adam and Eve"). I did find "Snowing" online in one place, and that was scan of a 1987 postage stamp from Gambia that featured the work!
A reverse search in TinEye, using the picture in my book, came up with 0 hits! I next contacted the helpful librarians at the NH Institute of Art's Teti Library. They attempted to locate the painting for me, but had no luck either. "Given how difficult this work is to find, we think that it might be part of a private collection," they concluded. Although they included links to other source materials, I think I've spent enough time on this wild goose chase and will let it remain a mystery.
The following, though, is a more positive result of a day or two spent immersed in Chagall.
Since Chagall lived until 1985, his work is still under copyright (expires 70 years after Chagall's death). His works won't be in the public domain until 2055, which means I can't legally use his paintings to illustrate a poem. Instead, I decided to illustrate my poem in the spirit of a Chagall painting using bright primary colors, a photo of him taken in 1910 that is in the public domain, and a few of the symbols he repeatedly used in his paintings. I made Chagall's face green since he had painted himself with a green face! (Click here for examples.) It actually works better without the real thing because I'm the speaker in the poem, and anything I create could only be "like" Marc Chagall!
As for my use of rhyme again this week, it's proof that not every exercise leads to improvement! I promise, no more rhyme!
Julie is hosting the Round-Up this week at The Drift Record. Have a safe holiday weekend!