Exile in America and the Aleko

2006/7/13(THU) - 9/24(SUN)
9:00 - 18:00

Welcome to Marc Chagall's "land in his soul"

Marc Chagall (1887-1985) is one of the representative artists of the 20th century. The Aomori Museum of Art has in its collection three out of four backdrops of the ballet Aleko painted by Marc Chagall in 1942. In 1941 Chagall left France and crossed the sea to America to escape the Nazi Regime. He lived in exile for seven years in America. It is during this time that Chagall painted the backdrops for the ballet Aleko.

A dramatic fate awaited Chagall in America. Almost at the same time that he arrived in America, the Nazis destroyed his hometown, Vitebsk. Three years after the loss of his homeland, Chagall suffered the sudden, tragic death of his beloved wife, Bella. Chagall lost his two important towers of strength. Along with a sense of loss from these tragic experiences, living in a foreign country as an exile made him aware of a fate to be an eternal étranger. And this gives his works during this time a unique style and passion.

The backdrops of the ballet Aleko, is one of these works. The sizes of the backdrops are 9 meters in height, 15 meters wide. We can say that they are the largest Chagall paintings in Japan. These three, large scale backdrops will be exhibited in the center of the museum in a 16 meter tall, 21 meter square colossal room, called the "Aleko Hall". Also, from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, we will borrow the remaining Aleko backdrop (Act 3) and exhibit it along with our three backdrops, making this the first time in the world, all four backdrops will be shown together in a museum. The costumes and many sketches of the stage décor of the ballet Aleko along with the backdrops will recreate the Chagall's world of the imagination of the stage vividly.

With the special cooperation and assistance of the Chagall family, about 180 pieces of excellent work, such as stage décor, oil paintings, watercolor paintings and prints, will be exhibited. As we focus on Marc Chagall during his exile in America, which has never before been spotlighted, many of the exhibits have yet to be shown in Japan.

"Only that land is mine, that lies in my soul" Chagall wrote this in one of his poems. We will examine and understand that Chagall is an artist who has drawn his homeland in his soul throughout his life, through each work of this exhibition. Marc Chagall's "land in my soul" is the place to hope for enduring peace, passionate love and also the place filled with eternal freedom created from an artist's imagination. Please step into and feel Marc Chagall's "land in my soul".
Aomori Museum of Art
Address 185 Chikano, Yasuta, Aomori,
Aomori, 038-0021, Japan
TEL 017-782-1919
Access 20 minutes by car from JR Aomori Station
Aomori Municipal bus. From bus stop 2 in front of Aomori Station, take the bus going in the direction of the Menkyo Center (the bus that goes to the Sannai Maruyama Historical Site). Get off at the Sannai Maruyama Historical Site stop (Sannai Maruyama Iseki Mae), approximately 30 minutes away.
20 minutes by car from the Aomori Airport.
5 minutes by car from the Tohoku Expressway Aomori Interchange