MARC CHAGALL (1887–1985) was a Russian-French artist who became a significant figure in the European avant-garde and modernist movements. Born in Witebsk of humble Jewish stock, he studied art in St Petersburg before moving to Paris in 1910. His metaphorical approach to painting garnered admirers from poets such as Guillaume Apollinaire and Blaise Cendrars, and by the time of his return to Russia in 1914 he was a firm-fixture of the avant-garde scene. In St Petersburg, after the revolution, he set up the Witebsk Arts College which gave Russian Supremacists such as El Lissitzky and Kazimir Malevich a platform to explore their artwork. In 1923 he resettled in Paris, but was smuggled out of the country to New York in 1941 after the arrival of the Nazis. In America he discovered to his surprise that he had achieved an international status as an artist, and a series of exhibitions helped to solidify his reputation. He returned to France in 1948, where he remained until his death in 1985.
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