Chagall: love and exile, By Jackie Wullschlager

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The Independent Culture

He entered the world his art would transform in 1887, the son of a herring-warehouse worker, in a ramshackle Jewish suburb of Vitebsk. He left it almost 100 years later, in 1985, in the Riviera villa-studio where a trusted friend and neighbour was Rolling Stone Bill Wyman.

Marc Chagall's paintings depict a magical alchemy that spirits lovers, animals and that ubiquitous fiddler into radiant skies where dreams weave a richer life.

And there turns out to be something unearthly about his gift of survival and success, as a shy child endures, watches and flies beyond world wars, revolutions, upheaval and exile.

Jackie Wullschlager's superb biography grounds his flights, of fancy and reality, in a triple obsession with home, faith and love. Chagall's airy fantasias had a core of iron.

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