White CrucifixionSaw this over the weekend in the London Times and thought it was worth sharing for those of you who missed it.

Quite some time ago, we chose Marc Chagall’s “La Crucifixion Blanche” (1938) as the lead image for our program, “The Jewish Roots of the Christian Story” with our guest, Joel Marcus. “White Crucifixion” is the first in a series of Chagall’s major crucifixion paintings in which he focused on the persecution of his fellow Jews by Hitler and the Nazis through depictions of Jesus dying on the cross and his essential Jewish nature. (Ziva Amishai-Maisels’ exploration of Chagall’s painting is a good starting point for better understanding the nuanced detail and subtle narrative devices used in “White Crucifixion.”)

Apocalypse in Lilac: Capriccio Chagall’s series has been pretty thoroughly documented and well-catalogued — until October of last year.

A previously unknown 1945 gouache painted by the French-Russian artist while living in New York surfaced in a recent auction in Paris. Keeping it on the down-low, the London Jewish Museum of Art purchased “Apocalypse in Lilac, Capriccio” for the relatively paltry sum of 30,000 euros, about $43,000. The small museum kept it quiet so that major museums and other collectors wouldn’t bid up the price.

And, now, after all these years in hiding, the painting will be displayed in London this coming week. What a treasure for the public to behold.

(“White Crucifixion” courtesy of The Art Institute of Chicago, a gift of Alfred S. Alschuler)


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