“I wouldn’t want something I didn’t say and didn’t think to be attributed to me. And so I decided to say something about myself, in the event that it could be in some way significant.”
Mein Leben (1921-1922)
Marc Chagall began to write his autobiography, Mein Leben [My life], in 1921 in Moscow, and completed it in Berlin in 1922. The project of the Berlin publisher, Paul Cassirer, for an edition illustrated by the author, was set aside to publish a portfolio with twenty engravings executed using dry point and etching techniques. The original plan to publish text and illustrations together was not carried out until 1931, in a French edition translated by Bella Chagall.
Plates reproduced from Mein Leben. Private collection / © Chagall ® SABAM Belgium 2015
“I wouldn’t want something I didn’t say and didn’t think to be attributed to me. And so I decided to say something about myself, in the event that it could be in some way significant.”: this is how Marc Chagall explains his desire to approach the genre of autobiographical memoir again in the early 1970s. In 1977-1978 Alexander Lovovich Bololensky made a typed copy of Chagall’s manuscripts and those texts have been translated and published for the first time in the catatalogue of this exhibition. The journey of sixty-five pages has been composed on the waves of memories, in such a way that importance is given to associative rather than to chronological connections.