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CHAGALL (1887-1985) KAHLO (1907-1954) MATISSE (1869-1954)
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The Belarusian painter Marc Chagall is widely regarded as epitomizing the "painter as poet". The worldwide admiration he commanded remains unparalleled by any artist of the century.
Chagall's paintings, steeped in mythology and mysticism, portray colourful dreams and tales that are deeply rooted in his Russian Jewish origins. The memories and yearning they evoke recall his native Vitebsk, and the great events that mark the life of ordinary people: birth, love, marriage and death. They tell of a world full of everyday miracles - in the room of lovers, on the streets of Vitebsk, beneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Heaven and earth seem to meet in a topsy-turvy world in which whimsical figures of people and animals float through the air with gravity-defying serenity.
Rainer Metzger studied art history, history and German studies in Munich and Augsburg. He received his doctorate in 1994, and has worked as a fine arts journalist for the Viennese newspaper Der Standard. He has written numerous books on art, including volumes on van Gogh and Chagall.
Ingo F. Walther (1940-2007) was born in Berlin and studied medieval studies, literature, and art history in Frankfurt am Main and Munich. He published numerous books on the art of the Middle Ages and of the 19th and 20th centuries. Walther's many titles for TASCHEN include Picasso, Art of the 20th Century, and Codices Illustres.
The Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) is one of the most important 20th century painters, and one of the few Latin American artists to have achieved a global reputation. In 1983 her work was declared the property of the Mexican state.
Kahlo was one of the daughters of an immigrant German photographer and a Mexican woman of Indian origin. Her life and work were more inextricably interwoven than in almost any other artist's case. Two events in her life were of crucial importance. When she was eighteen, a bus accident put her in hospital for a year with a smashed spinal column and fractured pelvis. It was in her sick bed that she first started to paint. Then, aged twenty-one, she married the world-famous Mexican mural artist Diego Rivera. She was to suffer the effects of the accident her whole life long, and was particularly pained by her inability to have children.
Kahlo's arresting pictures, most of them small format self-portraits, express the burdens that weighed upon her soul: her unbearable physical pain, the grief that Rivera's occasional affairs prompted, the sorrow her childlessness caused her, her homesickness when living abroad and her longing to feel that she had put down roots, profound loneliness. But they also declare her passionate love for her husband, her pronounced sensuousness, and her unwavering survival instinct.
Henri Matisse is known not only as one of the most important French painters of the 20th century but also as co-founder and leading ex