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Marc Chagall
Fables de la Fontaine

In 1927 the famous art dealer Ambrose Vollard commissioned Marc Chagall to illustrate The Fables of La Fontaine. The Fables were written in the late seventeenth century by Jean de La Fontaine (1621-1695). The stories themselves were mostly collected from various ancient sources, notably Aesop’s Fables, written in Greek. La Fontaine, a contemporary and friend of Moliere and Racine, deftly recounted the stories in French verse. To this day they remain dear to the heart of French children.

Chagall’s created etchings to accompany 100 of the Fables. Their execution is stunning, bringing out both the delicacy of details – a peacock’s plumage or the wood siding of a distant manor house – as well as the insistent power and ambiguity of the language itself – a drowned woman who seems only to be sleeping or the sadness of a lion whose dominance is no longer.

Chagall’s Fables de la Fontaine was released in an edition of 200, 85 of which were also hand-colored by Chagall. Serge Sorokko Gallery is pleased to present examples of both the black-and-white and hand-colored suites.