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«Paris, for me, has been a school of life, with its ambience, its light, its atmosphere. It is in France that I was reborn.»

—Marc Chagall


In 1910 Chagall travelled to Paris for the first time and settled in a studio in the Montparnasse district.

It is not surprising that Chagall decided to go to the French capital, which had become the centre of the art world, attracting all those young people interested in culture. It was the centre of the artistic avant-garde, where artists converged, fascinated by the bohemian atmosphere, the cosmopolitan cafés, the opportunities for training in academies and museums and, above all, the existence of the Salons, which gave them the opportunity to exhibit their creations.


Paris was the city that welcomed him when he was forced to leave Russia for good in the 1920s; the city he dreamed of during his American exile, his second home. Paris welcomed him with open arms and devoted a major retrospective exhibition to him at the Musée d'Art Moderne in 1947. Once again, he was captivated by its radiance and freedom (lumière-liberté).

The city that had so often welcomed and welcomed him became one of his main sources of inspiration. In 1954, Chagall produced a series of lithographs for Derrière le miroir, a declaration of love for Paris. Through colourful images he depicted its most iconic architectural elements such as the Eiffel Tower, the Pantheon, Notre-Dame - among which his fantastical characters float.


With his creations Chagall paid homage to Paris, which, according to him, "illuminated my dark world, as if it were the sun".

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