The public is invited to join the Muscatine Art Center in welcoming Carol Ehlers, art history speaker, as she presents a 45 minute lecture on the art of Russian artist Marc Chagall. The lecture will take place Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 5:30 pm in the Muscatine Art Center's Music Room. Admission is free.

Marc Chagall was a Russian artist associated with several major artistic styles and was one of the most successful artists of the 20th century. He was an early modernist and created works in virtually every artistic medium, including painting, book illustrations, stained glass windows, stage sets, ceramics, tapestries and fine art prints. Chagall did not want his work to be associated with any school or movement and considered his own personal language of symbols and motifs to be meaningful only to him.

Marc Chagall was born July 7, 1887 in Vitebsk, Belarus, then part of the Russian empire. He received his primary education at the local religious school, where he studied Hebrew and the Torah. He soon began copying images from books and found the experience so rewarding he decided he wanted to become an artist.

At the age of 19 he moved to St. Petersburg which was then the capital of Russia and the center of the country's artistic life. After a few months at the art school there, Chagall realized that academic portrait painting did not suit his desires and relocated to Paris, where he remained until 1914. After Paris he returned to his village of Vitebsk where he founded Vitebsk Arts College, which became one of the most distinguished schools of art in the Soviet Union.

In 1941 at the age of 54 he traveled to America where he discovered he had already achieved international fame. Initially, Chagall's fellow artists did not understand or even like his art, but those attitudes began to change when the son of French artist Henri Matisse became his representative. After several successful years in America, Chagall returned to France where he spent the remainder of his life. He died in Paris on March 28, 1985 at the age of 98.

In 1992 the Muscatine Art Center's collections were significantly enriched by a gift of twenty-seven works of art by Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse, Degas, Boudin, Chagall, Renoir, and other European artists. The collection was a gift from the estate of Mary Musser Gilmore in honor of her parents, Richard Drew Musser and Sarah Walker Musser. The paintings are on permanent display in the Laura Musser Mansion.

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