The Flight into Egypt

Image Resources | Currently on View in William L. and Jane H. Fortune Gallery

The Flight Into Egypt

Marc Chagall (Russian, 1887-1985)

Typical of Chagall's colorful fantasies, this work offers a rich mixture of personal symbolism. Its setting derives from happy childhood memories of Chagall's Russian village, yet the black windows and gaping doors suggests his anguish at the suffering of World War II.

While the figures may well be the Holy Family fleeing to Egypt, they could also symbolize the artist's own flight from war-torn France. The man's apparel relates to Chagall's reverence for the tragic humanity of clowns. The candle and raven are symbols of light and dark, concepts that often appear in Chagall's work.

(Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York) by 1944; purchased by Caroline Marmon Fesler [1878-1960], Indianapolis, in 1944;{1} bequest to the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 1961 (61.37).

{1}The bill of sale from Pierre Matisse Gallery is dated 11 December 1944, see IMA Historical File (61.37). Because Chagall arrived in the United States in June 1941, the painting was certainly not painted in Europe.

Object Information

Marc Chagall (Russian, 1887-1985)
creation date
oil on canvas
14-1/2 x 15-3/8 in.
22 x 22-1/2 in. (framed)
mark descriptions
Signed l.r.: Marc Chagall
accession number
credit line
Bequest of Mrs. James W. Fesler
© The Estate of Marc Chagall / 2007 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
European Painting and Sculpture to 1945