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Between and Mortarboard

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3 Items in this Learning Collection

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The Grandmother

Accession Number

The Grandmother

Marc Chagall

Artist Nationality
Belorussian (culture or style)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
etching and drypoint on paper

8 3/16 in x 6 5/16 in (20.8 cm x 16 cm);19 in x 14 in (48.3 cm x 35.6 cm)

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Subject matter
This print comes from a portfolio of twenty works Chagall created as part of first explorations of the printmaking medium. Though spending much time in France, Chagall always held on to his Jewish and Russian heritage; he had just left Russia again in 1922 when this work was created. The portfolio, Mein Leben, was created when Chagall was first learning printmaking in Berlin. The gallerist Paul Cassirer saw a manuscript for an autobiography Chagall had been working on and though originally hoping that the prints would be accompanied with this text, there were too many issues in translating Chagall's writing. Nonetheless, a set of prints was produced, detailing scenes of Chagall himself, his family members—such as this work of his grandmother—scenes of early memories of his life in Vitebsk, and locals from the village.

Physical Description
This work shows an elderly woman sitting on a bench, reading a book. She wears a scarf over her head. Next to her on the bench is an animal—possibly a monkey—that sits upright. There is a wash of grey ink above the woman's head, a faint sketch of a lamp, and spots of black ink. 

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

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illustration (process)
modern and contemporary art
portfolios (groups of works)
reading (activity)

4 Related Resources

All Artists in the Degenerate Art Show
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Art of interest to Judaic Studies
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Expressionism - independent Artists
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
(Part of 5 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved