Glendale Forest Lawn Celebrates Mark Chagall

Ksenia Rabinovich, Staff Writer

Although Glendale Forest Lawn’s primary purpose is a cemetery, its serene grounds are also home to works by some of the world’s artists. The latest exhibition in the Forest Lawn Museum, “Chagall: The Early Etchings,” highlights book illustrations by the celebrated artist.

The exhibition is dedicated into the two series “Les Fables de La Fontaine” by Jean de La Fontaine and “Dead souls” by Nikolai Gogol.

Marc Chagall, a Russian-French painter , was a pioneer of modernism. He was famous for his diverse art techniques including decoration, costume design, stained glass, oil , ink and drawing. He left Russia in 1923 because his world with a wild fantasy was not well accepted before the Russian revolution, and he settled down in France.

Etchings was a new technique for the multi-talented Chagall in the beginning of the 1930s and at Glendale Forest Lawn, visitors have a chance to follow how Chagall’s etching technique developed.

Engaged by a French publisher Ambroise Vollard, Chagall created more the two hundred etchings for the French edition of the “Dead Souls” by Nicolai Gogol and the monument of French literature” Les Fables de la Fontaine”.

In the Dead Souls exhibit, Chagall’s technique appears to be much more simple and clear. Chichikov, the main character of the “Dead Souls”, meets the viewer with characters of Russian mentality: Nozdriev, Proshka and Korobocka. This story plunges the reader into the details of Russian life of the 19th century.

The series of La Fontaine fables represents a more developed technique of Chagall. “The Milkmaid and Her Pail,” “Young Widow,” “Lion in Love” and “The Ass and the Dog” are a small part of the exhibited works. Every etching is accompanied by the tale of La Fontaine.

“You are like in a fairy tale,” said Anahit Sheshikyan, a visitor of the exhibition. The museum gives the viewer an opportunity get close to the master.

“Forest Lawn is renowned in the world for its large collection of art,” Phillip Garcia, an advance planner said. “We have a lot of original pieces and we try to bring in interesting exhibitions.”

The Chagall exhibition is a confluence of different cultures. It is a perfect break in a monotony of life for literature lovers, kids and Chagall fans who will find something absolutely new. The exhibition is free and open until April 28.