America Windows by Marc Chagall
I'm trying something new with this post - rather than reviewing a particular book I wanted to write about a work of art and a program I attended recently at the Art Institute of Chicago. And because this is a blog about books, I'm including a list of books at the end that are related to America Windows by Marc Chagall. I often check the Art Institute of Chicago's calendar to see what kind of tours they are giving. The ones I attend are usually over the lunch hour and last between 30 minutes to an hour. The program on The America Windows was an "Express Talk" which usually means it focuses on just one work of art and is no more than 30 minutes long. The video below explains the process in which the windows were made and how they were conserved in 2010:
The America Windows by Marc Chagall were completed in 1977 and were a gift from the artist directly to the Art Institute of Chicago. While in town for the unveiling of his mosaic The Four Seasons, he heard the museum was dedicating a gallery to him and he was so grateful he offered to make these windows for the gallery. During the express talk, we were asked what we noticed first about the windows or what struck us. Answers included the striking color of blue, the sense of calm, the representation of the arts, and the way objects seem to float. For me, it was the representation of literature. Since starting this blog I see more and more connections between my passion for art, fashion, history and literature. I get goosebumps every time I see these passions overlapping once again.
My first introduction to The America Windows was as a romantic spot for Ferris and his girlfriend Sloane in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. You might think it silly to bring up Ferris Bueller when talking about such an important work of art, but I think this quote from the director says it all, "I think in a certain sense [the scene] mirrors the journey into an art museum or any unfamiliar territory. You start thinking it’s a lark and then you make fun of it and then you begin to realize that there’s power here and you either reject it or you dive in..." For more about Ferris Buller and the art museum scene, I'd suggest reading this article by Katie Nodjimbadem entitled How Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Perfectly Illustrates the Power of Art Museums.
To conclude this post, I wanted to talk about three books that feature Marc Chagall and/or The America Windows.
Books featuring Marc Chagall and the America Windows:
The first book is Chagall: The Stained Glass Windows by Sylvie Forestier, Nathalie Hazan-Brunet, Dominique Jarasse, Benoit Marq, and Meret Meyer. This book is specifically on Chagall's stained glass work (he worked in a variety of mediums) and features the America Windows on the cover.
I love an autobiography - this one was especially intriguing because it was written and illustrated when Marc Chagall was only 35. Regardless, it is touted as "one of the most extraordinarily inventive and beautifully told of all autobiographies..." Who wouldn't want to read a book with that kind of description?
I am obsessed with children's books inspired by real people, especially artists. I'm a huge fan of the Little People, Big Dreams series, which will be the first thing I register for when I have a baby (far more important than a crib or car seat, right?) This book brings to life one of Chagall's most recognized paintings, Les Mariés de la Tour Eiffel. Imagine reading this book to your kid and then taking him/her to see the painting. Be still my heart.
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