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Last updated: 3-9-14
Home / Gallery Tour 1 / The Worlds of Marc Chagall / Gallery Tour 2 / Artists
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Marc Chagall signed original etchings and lithographs

Our Chagall pages are arranged thematically and/or by series and illustrate over 200 different etchings and lithographs.
Clicking on the links will bring you to one or more pages on that subject.

Paris / Paris2 / The Village / The Circus / Circus 2 / Lovers / Lovers 2 / Music / Music 2
Flowers / Flowers 2 / Self Portraits / Self Portraits 2

Dead Souls (1923-27) / Dead Souls 2 / Dead Souls 3 / Dead Souls 4 / Dead Souls 5 / Maternité (1925-26) /
Fables of La Fontaine (1927-30) / Fables 2 / De Mauvais Sujets (1958)/ / Et sur la terre (1977)

Chagall and the Bible
Etchings for the Bible (1930-39, 1952-56) / Bible Etchings 2 / Bible Etchings 3
1956 Verve Lithographs for the Bible / 1956 Bible Lithographs 2
1960 Verve Lithographs for Drawings for the Bible / 1960 Bible Lithographs 2 / 1960 Bible Lithographs 3
The Story of the Exodus (1966) / Exodus 2 / The Jerusalem Windows (1962) / Other Biblical Subjects

Chagall in black and white / Signed Chagall Etchings and Lithographs
Original Posters

Review, 12/10/03 Rhythm Section (an entertainment guide jointly produced by the Wisconsin State Journal and the Capital Times)

To sign or not to sign: that is the question

The pencil signature is a fairly recent development in the history of printmaking. The practise is generally attributed to Whistler's brother-in-law, Sir Francis Seymour Haden, who was soon imitated by Whistler himself. Until the last third of the 19th century, the only time a print came with a signature was when it was a gift by the artist. Seymour Haden's great innovation was to charge extra for a signature: 5 guineas for an unsigned print, 6 for a print with a signature (a guinea equaled 21 shillings or about $5.25, so Haden's innovation added a modest 20% or $5.25 to the price of a print). The innovation did not catch on immediately. Most of Renoir's and Cezanne's prints are unsigned as are most German Expressionist prints, which were often published in books and periodicals in editions of between 200 and 1000 impressions. The practice of having separate signed and unsigned editions continued during most of the 20th century. Chagall, Miró, Picasso, Braque, Giacometti, Kandinsky, Kollwitz, and others often did both signed and unsigned editions so that those who could afford to pay could have a signed impression while those who could not could still have the print. Kollwitz frequently published a small edition with pencil signature and then, a few years later, a larger unsigned edition of the same piece would appear. Chagall's great etching series either come unsigned, like the Dead Souls, his first major work for Ambroise Vollard, or partially signed and partially unsigned. Chagall was at his most elaborate when he and Vollard decided to issue three editions of The Fables of La Fontaine: a small signed edition of 100 numbered with the place of the plate in the series, a hand-colored but unsigned impression of 85, and an unsigned edition of 240. It was thus possible either to have an unsigned hand-colored impression or a signed but uncolored impression. In the Bible etchings, Chagall and Vollard changed course: the etchings came either unsigned and uncolored or signed and hand-colored. Chagall also made many prints for publication in deluxe art reviews like Derrière le Miroir and XXe Siecle; sometimes these would also be available in a small pencil-signed and numbered edition. To further complicate things, sometimes Chagall would take one of the large-edition unsigned pieces, sign it, and send it off to a friend or sign one of the unsigned impressions at a gallery opening. A pencil signature on a print that was not supposed to be signed is called a complimentary signature. A Chagall signature on a letter is worth about $1000; on a work of art it can be worth many times that amount. Unfortunately, as the desire for signed Chagall prints pushed the prices higher and higher, the forgers, scenting an opportunity, were quick to take unsigned prints, add a fake signature, often an HC or EA annotation, and let it go at that. Spaightwood guarantees the authenticity of all works we sell. That guarantee includes the signature.
Petrouchka retires les bottes / Petrochka removes Tchitchikov's boots (Sorlier 68, Hannover 108). Original etching, 1923-27. 335 impressions signed in the plate + 33 HC. No hand-signed impressions exist from the published edition. Ours is a very rare (if not unique) pencil-signed trial proof labeled "Essai" lower left. After this proof, Chagall added more hatching to Petrochka's chest and hair, Tchitchikov's back and boots, and the area of floor by Petrouchka's foot. There is a full page ilustration in Sorlier's Marc Chagall and Ambroise Vollard. A very crisp and sharp impression. Image size: 277x220mm. Price: $12,500.
Le chat et les deux Moineaux / The cat and the two sparrows (H. 243, S. 191). Original etching, 1927-30. 100 pencil signed impressions (of which this is one), 85 hand-colored impressions, and 240 impressions (of which 40 are on japon paper) signed in the plate for The Fables of La Fontaine. This image occurs as plate 97 in the Fables. The Fable concerns a cat and a sparrow whohave been brought up together and become friends. They play with each other and scuffle playfully at times, but the cat always keeps his claws in. One day a strange sparrow flies in and assaults the cat's friend. The cat, defending the honor of his sparrow, proceeds to kill and eat the stranger. However, having tasted sparrow tartare, so to speak, his friend soon follws the stranger down the cat's throat as he reflects, "The world is right! / A bird is certainly a bite upon which to gloat." The poet offers the dedicatee, the Duke of Burgundy, the opportunity to draw his own moral from this fable: "What moral can I deduce from what has just been said? / Fables aren't fables if not brought to a head. I seem to detect outlines which escape me; no use; / Conundrums are for you, not for my groping muse." Since the Duke does not reply, it is up to readers to supply the missing moral, which probably warns that it is not wise to keep your friends too close if they might suddenly turn and devour you. A very strong impression; slight discoloration outside the platemark. Image size: 299x237mm. Price: $9500.
Isaac Blessing Jacob (Hannover 288, Sorlier 211). Original etching, 1931-39. 100 signed and numbered hand-colored proofs (of which ours is n. 60/100) plus 295 black and white impressions signed in the plate. One of Chagall's most acclaimed etchings with very vibrant and extensive hand-coloring by Chagall. Illustrated in black and white in Güse, Marc Chagall Druckgraphik (Westfälisches Landmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschicte Münster, 1985). Image size: 295x236mm. Price: $15,000.
1956 marked the end of a long artistic journey for Chagall. In 1930, Ambroise Vollard had invited him to make a set of etchings for the Bible. After a trip to Palestine, Chagall began to work, creating 105 etchings between 1931 and 1939 and completed bertween 1952 and 1956, which were ulitmately published by Teriade in 1956 in a dual edition: 295 black-and-white etchings for the book edition (each of the books were signed; none of the prints in the regular edition, included unbound in their own removable folder, were signed) and a separate deluxe edition of 100 hand-painted etchings by Chagall that were signed and numbered (see above for an example). To celebrate the completion of this long awaited project, Teriade, the publisher of Chagall's three great artist's books—The Dead Souls (1948), The Fables of La Fontaine (1952), and The Bible, who was also the publisher of the deluxe art review, Verve, persuaded Chagall to create 17 color lithographs on the theme of the Bible as well as 12 original black and white lithographs that were printed on the reverse side of the lithographs devoted to Moses, David and Solomon, and the prophets Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Daniel for a special number of Verve devoted to Chagall's Bible etchings. These twelve black-and-white lithographs were also issued in an edition of 75 on large sheets of Arches paper, but only five of them were pencil-signed and numbered by Chagall, one of which is Isaiah ddivinely inspired (M. 141). Edition: circa 6500 unsigned impressions printed on the verso of Isaiah (M. 146) and 75 signed and numbered impressions on Arches paper of which ours is n. 45. Image size: 403x305mm. Price: $8500.
The scene illustrates a Isaiah 6:1-8:

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said:
‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.’
The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!’  Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: ‘Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.’ Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’
Nuit d'été / Summer Night (M. 696). Original color lithograph, 1973. 50 signed and numbered impressions on Arches (of which ours is 24/50) plus 12 impressions of only the black stone on Japon Imperial. Image size: 555x375mm on Arches paper measuring 685x500mm. Price: $25,000.

Chagall frequently chose his subjects from literary texts including Gogol's Dead Souls, The Fables of La Fontaine, The Bible, The Arabian Nights, Daphnis and Chloe, and The Odyssey. In 1976, he did a series of 50 black-and-white lithographs on Sheakespeare's The Tempest. In view of this interest in literary texts, I would like to suggest that this is not simply any summer night, but a depiction of Titania, the Queen of the Fairies in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, being wooed by Nick Bottom the Weaver after his transformation by Puck into a "translated" version of himself, with the ass-head making immediately clear that Bottom is an ass whatever the visible form his head takes on.

PS The colors above are far more accurate than the ones in volume 5 of the catalogue raisonné of Chagall's lithographs, where the woman's pink hair is shown as bright red and the cock flying upper left is outlined in bright orange, a color also prominent in the reproduction of the bush lower left.
L'artiste II (M. 929). Original color lithograph, 1978. 50 signed & numbered impressions, of which this is n. 11/50. This work has just come back from restoration. It is a beautiful image in very good condition. Image size: 330x250mm. Price: $15,000.
Pour Vava plate 10: Jacob's dream (Cramer 1992, n.141). Original tampon sec (or scratch lithograph), 1984. This late work is part of a love note from Chagall to his wife, Vava (Valentina). Edition: 10 signed and numbered impressions. Chagall coated a stone with black lithographic ink, scatched a drawing into the ink with a sharp-pointed stylus, laid the paper face-down upon the stone and rubbed the reverse until the ink transferred to the paper (see William M. Ivins, Jr. How Prints Look (Boston: Beacon Press, 1958, p. 17). This work was shown in Nice in a celebration of Chagall's long collaboration with Gerald Cramer (see Patrick Cramer, Marc Chagall–Gerald Cramer, Trente ans de travail et d'amitie [Geneve: Galerie Patrick Cramer, 1994], p. 35, n. 141). Our impression is a signed artist's proof. Image size: 240x177mm. Price: $12,500.
Pour Vava plate 13: David plays for King Saul (Cramer 1992, n.142). Original tampon sec (or scratch lithograph), 1984. This late work is part of a love note from Chagall to his wife, Vava (Valentina). Edition: 10 signed and numbered impressions. Chagall coated a stone with black lithographic ink, scatched a drawing into the ink with a sharp-pointed stylus, laid the paper face-down upon the stone and rubbed the reverse until the ink transferred to the paper (see William M. Ivins, Jr. How Prints Look (Boston: Beacon Press, 1958, p. 17). This work was shown in Nice in a celebration of Chagall's long collaboration with Gerald Cramer (see Patrick Cramer, Marc Chagall–Gerald Cramer, Trente ans de travail et d'amitie [Geneve: Galerie Patrick Cramer, 1994], p. 35, n. 142). Our impression is a signed artist's proof. Image size: 240x177mm. Price: $12,500.
Bouquet for Fernand (M. 635). Original color lithograph, 1972. 800 unsigned impression for Mourlot's Souvenirs et portraits d'Artistes, published in Paris by Alain Mazo. There were also 50 portfolios with Roman numerals and several unnumbered artist's proofs. Ours is a signed trial proof on which Chagall has crossed off the printer's border marks (full sheet illustrated on left above; image as matted on right; the backgound is cream, the brown is the result of using a flash to illuminate the piece from up close). Since only Chagall would have access to this proof, it gives a baseline for a "private" signature, as opposed to the more flamboyant "public" signature he uses on signed and numbered editions. Image size: 335x260mm Price: SOLD.

We also have one of the 800 unsigned impressions available: Price: $1500.
Mystical Crucifixion (D.L.M. 250, n. 27-28). Original color lithograph, 1950. c. 1000 impressions signed in the stone; published in the deluxe art review, Derriere le Miroir in 1950. Chagall began doing paintings of the Crucifixion after the Nazis came to power, perhaps as a reminder that there were times in the past when the the full power of the state was turned against Jewish rabbis and their followers. It may be significant that this is one of the first two color lithographs that Chagall drew directly on the stone and that it came shortly after Israel's war for independence led to a troubled peace and six years before the Arab states would try again to destroy Israel. Identified in the 1982 catalogue raisonné of Derrière le Miroir as an original lithograph and mentioned as one of Chagall's first two solo efforts at color lithography in a 1977 memoir by Aimé Maeght, Chagall’s dealer from 1950 on and the one who sent him to Mourlot’s lithography workshop to learn how to do all of the color stones for his lithographs, thereby starting a collaborative relationship with Charles Sorlier, master-printer at Mourlot, with whom he would work until his death in 1986. From now until 18 January 2009, another impression of this lithograph will be on display at the Museum of Biblical Art (Broadway and 61st Street in New York City) in an exhibition entitled Chagall's Bible: Mystical Storytelling, a title so good I wish I had thought of it first. Although our print is not in the show (because it is on the walls in our show), the photograph of this work included in the brochure for MOBIA's show, provided by us, is of our impression (as were three other photographs in their brochure). MOBIA's wall label suggests that the woman with the female child on the right of the composition were Chagall's first wife, Bella, and his daughter, Ida. No separate signed & numbered edition exists; with the ceterfold as always. Image size: 360x520mm. Price: SOLD.

Impression without complimentary signature available. Price: $1625.
Ruth at the feet of Boaz (M. 248). Original color lithograph, 1960. 50 signed and numbered impressions plus 6500 unsigned impressions. Ours is an impression from the unsigned Verve edition with a complimentary signature. Image size: 356x253mm. Price: $3,900.

Available without signature. Price: $1,575.
Job in despair (M. 254). Original color lithograph, 1960. 50 signed and numbered impressions plus 6500 unsigned impressions. Ours is an impression from the unsigned Verve edition with a complimentary signature. Image size: 356x253mm. Price: $3,900.

Available without signature. Price: $1,575.
Acrobat on a green background (M. 946). Original color lithograph, 1979. 20,000 impressions signed in the stone. Illustrated in Chagall's Works in Series. Ours is a pencil-signed impression taken from the deluxe art review, Derrière le Miroir. 310x220mm. Image size: 278x211mm. Price: $4000.

Available without signature: $950.
Bouquet a l'oiseau (M. 298). Original color lithograph, 1960. Edition: 75 signed & numbered impressions plus c. 2000 unsigned impressions for the deluxe French art review, Derrière le Miroir. Ours is an impression with a complimentary signature. A brilliant impression of one of Chagall's most beautiful early images. Illustrated Nice 1987. Image size: 340x260mm. Price: SOLD.

An unsigned impression of the Derrière le Miroir impressions matted so that the lettering at top is not visible is also available for $1450.
The painter in front of the village (M. 603b). Original color lithograph, 1969. 75 signed & numbered impressions + 5000 unsigned impressions published in 1969 in the deluxe art review, Derrière le Miroir. Our impression has a complimentary signature by Chagall. Image size: 380x280mm. Price: SOLD.

Available without signature: $1250.
Carte de voeux pour l'année 1974 (M. 708). Original color lithograph, 1974. 200 unsigned impressions reserved for Chagall for use as his 1974 New Year's Card. The lithograph is printed on Arches paper folded to make a greeting card. Our impression contains a note written by Vava addressed to "meine lieben Nina & Rudi" signed "Marc & Vava Chagall." Image size: 143x109mm. Price: SOLD.
The village (M. 917). Original color lithograph, 1977. 15,000 unsigned impressions. Ours is a signed impression as taken from the deluxe art review, Derrière le Miroir. Image size: 380x560mm. Price: SOLD.

An unsigned impression is available for $975.
Pour Vava / For Vava: The Artist at the Easel (Cramer 1992). Original tampon sec or scratch lithograph, 1984. This late work is part of a love note from Chagall to his wife, Vava (Valentina). Edition: 10 signed and numbered impressions. Chagall coated a stone with black lithographic ink, scatched a drawing into the ink with a sharp-pointed stylus, laid the paper face-down upon the stone and rubbed the reverse until the ink transferred to the paper (see William M. Ivins, Jr. How Prints Look (Boston: Beacon Press, 1958, p. 17). This work was shown in Nice in a celebration of Chagall's long collaboration with Gerald Cramer (see Patrick Cramer, Marc Chagall–Gerald Cramer, Trente ans de travail et d'amitie [Geneve: Galerie patrick Cramer, 1994], p. 35, n. 142). Our impression is a signed artist's proof showing the artist—clearly Chagall—turning away from his easel, where he has just completed a portrait of himself with Vava against the backdrop of Nice. Very rare! Image size: 240x177mm. Price: SOLD

Spaightwood Galleries, Inc.

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