Special issue. Marc Chagall "BONJOUR, LA PATRIE!"
The canvases that he produced during the second French period, from 1923 to 194 1, which include his exile in the United States, were marked by the same ambivalence. Certain works had all the appearance of surrealist influences, but this is not the case. The spectacular Nu au-dessus de Vitebsk (Nude above Vitebsk) of 1933, which holds, in effect, more of an autobiographical, narrative revelation than of a surrealist dream. In this painting, the nude is treated in a manner which became more of a return to an earlier order of the early twenties in France. The polished style and the quality of the design shows a consummate academic exercise understanding the long tradition of nude painting viewed from the back, apart from his grappling, arbitrarily beneath the urban landscape. But this arbitrariness is not an overt "surrealist" aspect of the work (it is reminiscent of the painting of Man Ray, A l'Heure de l'observatoire, les amoureux (Time of Observatory, The Lovers) of 1932-1934).