Coquelicot Art of the First World War
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Marc Chagall, Wounded Soldier, 1914, pen and Indian ink on paper, 22.3 x 17.2 cm, Galerie Tretiakov, Moscou. Reproduction not permitted on the Web.


69 - Marc Chagall

Chagall (1887-1985) took part in the war from afar. Returning to Russia from Paris, the outbreak of war prevented his return. However he produced a series of drawings - scenes of mobilisation, departures, mourning and woundings. He systematically used Indian ink flat tints in contrast to the white of the blank areas. This method heightens the dramatic expressiveness of the scene and suggests a silhouetting of the figures, a synthetic drawing with sharp outlines. It makes for bolder contrasts between the white bandage against dark hair, the teeth in the shadow of the beard and the facings and regiment number on the black clothing. In his 1914 drawings, Chagall hardened his style, moving away from the more ethereal and unreal manner which he used to evoke images of his childhood, coming closer to a type of expressionism with which he was not familiar.