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The collection of the Musée national Marc Chagall
The museum's collection has evolved and enriched since its creation: it was originally formed by the donation of the 17 large canvases of The Biblical Message by Marc Chagall and his wife Valentina Brodsky in 1966. In 1972, it was supplemented by a collection donated by the artist, including all the preparatory works and numerous other works, such as the gouaches of the Bible (1931), the 105 etchings of the Bible and their printing plates, an important series of lithographs, five sculptures and a ceramic. The total donation amounts to more than 250 works.
The museum was inaugurated on 7 July 1973, the artist's birthday, in his presence. Entitled the "Musée national Message Biblique Marc Chagall", it was the first monographic museum in France to be opened during the artist's lifetime.
Marc Chagall continued to enrich the collections until his death in 1985 by offering copies of his illustrated books or suites of his illustrations (separate print of the illustrations, without text) when they were published.
Since then, new acquisitions have enriched the collections, thanks to the support of the painter's heirs. In 1988, the museum received a large part of the Chagall donation - a procedure that allows the payment of inheritance rights in works of art - with 300 works. In particular, ten biblical paintings deposited by the Musée National d'Art Moderne - Centre Georges Pompidou, the recipient of the donations.
In 1986 and 1988, Charles Sorlier, Chagall's regular lithographer at the Fernand Mourlot printing house, donated a large collection of lithographs on biblical and secular themes to the museum.
In 2008, the Musée du Message Biblique was renamed the Musée National Marc Chagall with the family's consent and opened to the artist's entire oeuvre.
The National Marc Chagall Museum bears witness both to the spirituality of the artist's work and to his integration into the artistic trends of the 20th century.
Since 2010, the exhibition programme has aimed to explore both the life and work of Chagall and the variety of techniques that the artist explored throughout his career: "Marc Chagall, woven works" (2015), "Marc Chagall and music" (2016), "Chagall, sculptures" (2017), "Of paint and ink. Marc Chagall and the art journals" (2020) and "Chagall, the bringer of light" (2021).