Chagall's Bible

Bible.
Paris: Tériade, 1956.
(12095 Folio)

Illustrations by Marc Chagall – Oversight of composition and printing by Georges Arnoult – Printed at L’Imprimerie Nationale under the direction of Daniel Gibelin

Commissioned in 1930 by the art dealer Ambroise Vollard (1866–1939) to illustrate the Bible, Chagall traveled to Israel in 1931, staying for two months and drawing inspiration from the holy sites and the people. Chagall’s Bible encompasses sections selected from the books known to Christian readers as the Old Testament, in accordance with his Jewish tradition. He did not merely illustrate the book, but selected scenes and symbols that expressed the deep personal meaning which the Bible had held for him since childhood.

The project was several years in the making. Chagall completed the one hundred and five etchings on copperplate from 1931 to 1939. Sixty-six of these were printed in collaboration with and at the workshop of the painter and engraver of Maurice Potin. Chagall collaborated with the workshop of Raymond Haasen to produce the remaining thirty-nine etchings between 1952 and 1956. The plates were defaced once all of the images were printed.

The biblical text is excerpted from the Hebrew texts written by the pastors and professors of the Geneva Church, published in Geneva in 1638. The text was composed in the seventeenth-century Romain du Roi typeface cut by Philippe Grandjean. Chagall’s Bible was published in an edition of two hundred ninety-five printed on Montval paper, with twenty copies reserved hors commerce. This copy is number 244 and is signed by the artist.

© 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

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Chagall's Bible