Marc Chagall - Der Jude in Schwarz-Weiss

Der Jude in Schwarz-Weiss</i< is the most realistic among the three rabbi portraits in the Im Obersteg Collection. This impression is the result of the reduced, almost naturalistic use of color. The seated Jew is not characterized as a beggar. The features of poverty are entirely missing in the picture. In contrast, we see a dignified old man with a gray beard wearing the ritual dress of a Hasidic Jew: a prayer shawl, the tallith, wrapped around the shoulders and back of the head, the tefillin or phylacteries bound around the head and left arm and in the right hand the looped wraps. The tefillin are worn exclusively during morning prayer, which the Rabbi’s slightly open mouth seems to indicate he is momentarily reciting. According to Chagall’s report the figure is that of a visiting old beggar, whose shoulders he covered with his father’s prayer shawl. In this way he created a quite specific iconography for depicting the message requiring the daily repetition of the morning prayer and the constant remembrance of one’s creed. This painting, too, documents a specific Jewish content, which however does not appear in the picture as script but as a metaphor in paint. In the series of old Jews, this canvas proves to be a conceptually bold painting that, in its elementary polarity of black and white and clear arrangement of the background, reveals the Jewish creed’s lack of pictoriality.

The painting, as were those of the two other Rabbi portraits purchased for the Im Obersteg Collection, was done in 1914. It was a painting that must have had special significance for Chagall. After it was bought shortly after its completion by the collector Alexandre Kagan-Chabchay, Chagall painted two other versions of the original in 1923 in Paris following the war. These hang today in the Galleria d'arte Moderna - Ca'Pesaro in Venice and in the Art Institute of Chicago.


Marc Chagall
A. Kagan-Chabchay, Paris
1936 erworben bei A. Kagan-Chabchay, Paris, von Karl Im Obersteg


With 1923
Karl With: Marc Chagall, Leipzig: Klinkhardt und Biermann, 1923, S. 13, Abb. (Der Alte mit Sack)

Sélection 1929
Sélection. Chronique de la vie artistique, Heft Nr. 6, April 1929 (Marc Chagall), Beiträge von Paul Fierens, André Le Ridder, Marc Chagall u. a., Anvers (Belgien): Editons Sélection, 1929, Abb. S. 92 (Le Moujik)

Venturi 1956
Lionello Venturi: Chagall (Le goût de notre temps), Genf, Paris, New York: Editions d' Art Albert Skira, 1956, S. 46

Lassaigne 1957
Jacques Lassaigne: Chagall, Paris 1957, Abb. S. 93

Meyer 1961
Franz Meyer: Marc Chagall. Leben und Werk, Köln: Verlag M. DuMont Schauberg, 1961, S. 222, 224, 743, Abb. S. 232

Bucci 1972
Mario Bucci: Marc Chagall, Luzern 1972, Abb. Tafel 14

Baumgartner/von Tavel 1995
Michael Baumgartner und Hans Christoph von Tavel: Die Sammlung Karl und Jürg Im Obersteg, hrsg. von der Stiftung «Sammlung Karl und Jürg Im Obersteg», Bern, Bern: Benteli Verlag, 1995, S. 142-144, Nr. 87, Abb.

Schneider/Meyer 1995
Pierre Schneider und Meret Meyer: Chagall. Fast ein Jahrhundert, Stuttgart: Daco-Verlag Günter Bläse, 1995, S. 58, Abb. S. 51 (Der Bettler in Rot)

Compton 1998
Susan Compton: Marc Chagall: Love and the Stage, in: Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1998, Chagall. Love and the Stage 1914-1922, hrsg. von Susan Compton, London: Merell Holberton, 1998, S. 13-25, S. 16, Abb. 6


Basel 1933
Marc Chagall, Kunsthalle Basel 1933, 4. Nov.-3. Dez.1933, Basel 1933, Nr. 34 (Vieillard en rouge)

Zürich 1950/1951
Marc Chagall, Kunsthaus Zürich, 1950-1951, Zürich 1950, Nr. 22 (Rabbiner in Blau/Rot)

Genf 1953
Marc Chagall, Musée de l'Athénée, Genf 1953, Nr. 2 (Rabbin en bleu et rouge)

Genf 1962
Chagall et la Bible, Musée Rath, Genf 1962, Nr. 11, Abb.

Lausanne 1964
Chefs-d'oeuvre des collections suisses de Manet à Picasso, Palais de Beaulieu, Lausanne 1964, Nr. 254, Abb.

Bern 1975
Sammlung Im Obersteg, bearb. von Hugo Wagner, hrsg. von Kunstmuseum Bern, 25. Juni-14. Sept 1975, Nr. 13, Abb.

New York 1976/1977
European Master Paintings from Swiss Collections: Post-Impressionism to World War II, Museum of Modern Art, New York 1976-1977, S. 122, Abb. S. 123

Bern 1995/96
Marc Chagall 1907-1917, Kunstmuseum Bern, 16.Dez. 1995-28. Feb.1996, bearb. von Sandor Kuthy und Meret Meyer, Bern1995/96, S. 164, Nr. 180, Abb. S. 187

Wien 2003
Im Banne der Moderne: Picasso, Chagall, Jawlensky, BA-CA Kunstforum, Wien, 4. Sept.-30. Nov. 2003, Nr. 12

Basel 2004
Die Sammlung Im Obersteg im Kunstmuseum Basel. Picasso, Chagall, Jawlensky, Soutine, Kunstmuseum Basel, 14. Febr.-2. Mai 2004, hrsg. von der Stiftung Im Obersteg, Basel: Schwabe Verlag, 2004, Nr. 39

Basel 2017
Chagall. Die Jahre des Durchbruchs 1911-1919, Kunstmuseum Basel, 16.09.2017-21.01.2018, hrsg. von Josef Helfenstein und Olga Osadtschy, Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln, 2017, Nr. 26, Abb. S. 175