Friday, November 5, 2010

Chagall's "America Windows", A Gift to Chicago-Friday Journal

When I look at Marc Chagall's art, I feel happy in a childlike way.  His colors draw me in, cause me to to daydream.  Figures are rendered in the almost primitive way of children, but their subtlety stirs my imagination.  After a recent experience of Chagall's magic, I have decided to learn as much as I can about the artist and his work.

Last Saturday at the Art Institute of Chicago, we were fortunate to have a Member's Preview of the reinstallation of the America Windows, originally completed in 1977, and removed in 2005 to protect them during the construction of the new Modern Wing.  After close study and restoration, the Windows have been resinstalled as a permanent part of the collection of the Art Institute.

Chagall had been commissioned to create a mosaic mural called The Four Seasons which is on permanent Display at the Chase Plaza in downtown Chicago.  Chagall was impressed by his visit to the city, and by then-mayor Richard J. Daley's commitment to Public Art.  That, and the support of the Art Institute, moved Chagall, in 1976, to create the 6-panel cobalt-blue masterpiece commemorating the Bicentennial and honoring American Arts.  In it, he pays tribute to music, painting, literature, theater, architecture, and dance.

Chagall dedicated the work to Mayor Daley, who died before he could see the finished work. 

America Windows was Chagall's gift to Chicago, a city that welcomed him, and that he graced with his soaring vision.  Here is yet another reason for readers to come to Chicago and share with us the creativity and richness of our culture, which is, sadly, a well-kept secret even among frequent visitors.  You can read a brief synopsis about this artwork and its remarkable history on the Art Institute website here.

I invite you to relax, enjoy, and be refreshed and inspired by this terrific 10-minute video which tells the story of the creation, meaning, and restoration of this beautiful stained-glass treasure.  

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