Oil on canvas
60,4 x 73 cm
Musée national d’art moderne - Centre de Création Industrielle, Centre Georges Pompidou,
entrusted to the Musée national Marc Chagall
This is the main room in Chagall’s first apartment in Paris – at the heart of the Montparnasse district. Although dated 1910, the painting could not have been done before 1911, when reliable sources say that Chagall first arrived in Paris.
Depth is highlighted by the vanishing lines (sofa bottom, carpet edge) that converge towards the empty red frame in the centre of the painting – placed there like a question mark over the future: it outlines Chagall’s expectations of his stay in Paris.
Chagall’s handling with broad, heavily-loaded brushstrokes, is similar to Van Gogh’s technique and the Fauvist influence is evident in the brash colours.
The untidy sofa is realistic of a young man living alone, his mind focused on his work. On the wall above, the picture My fiancée in a black glove, painted in 1909, is the one Chagall brought with him to remember Bella by.
In 1912, Chagall left this address for La Ruche – the block of studios shared by a great many artists from Eastern Europe.