LACMA Welcomes Marc Chagall's Mid-Century Theatre Designs in 'Fantasies for the Stage'

by Flaunt Staff

The French-Russian modernist Marc Chagall developed an early interest in art when he was born in Belarus in 1887. He moved to the outskirts of Paris at 20, when he lived in an artist colony and created his most lasting work. As a child, Chagall aspired to be a singer, dancer, violinist, or poet, all of which are often the subjects of his paintings.

The upcoming exhibition “Chagall: Fantasies for the Stage” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) collects some of his lesser-known work that was made for the stage. The exhibition will be the first in the U.S. to highlight the lasting influence music and dance had over his career, an often overlooked aspect of this artists multifaceted list of influences.

The exhibition covers four theatrical productions created during Chagall’s lifetime: Aleko, Firebird, Daphnis and Chloe, and The Magic Flute. It will comprise 145 objects, including 41 costumes, and almost 100 sketches, all of which were made by Chagall.  1942 film footage of the original performance of Aleko will also be on view. Music will accompany each section, creating a multi-sensory experience for all involved.

Though Chagall is perhaps most well known for his painting I and the Village (1911), his designs and costume work are equally impressive. He created the scenery and costumes for the American Ballet Theatre’s production of “Aleko” after fleeing Vichy France with his family in favor of the less anti-Semitic New York City. The designs feature vibrant colors and heavy fabrics with intricate designs—all avant-garde choices for the time. In bringing this wide array of work together, the LACMA exhibit is sure to highlight the interdisciplinary nature of art, linking the costumes and murals on display and the performance they were originally created for.

“Chagall: Fantasies for the Stage” will be on view from July 31 through January 7.


Written by: Brianna Di Monda