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Oh God

Marc Chagall, French (born Russia), 1887 - 1985


Oil and distemper on paper, mounted on cardboard

22 3/4 x 18 5/16 inches (57.8 x 46.5 cm)

© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The Louis E. Stern Collection, 1963

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On January 28, 1919, Chagall opened the Vitebsk People’s Art School and invited some of the leading members of the Russian avant-garde to teach there, including El Lissitzky and Kazimir Malevich. Unfortunately, Chagall frequently quarreled with his colleagues over the direction that modern art should take after the Russian Revolution. His anguished state of mind is reflected in this painting, in which the rotation of the artist’s head seen previously in Half-Past Three (The Poet) no longer registers his joyous encounter with Cubism, but rather the pain and disappointment he experienced as a result of the internal disputes he was facing at the school.


Louis E. Stern, New York, by 1962 [1]; bequest to PMA, 1963. 1. Stern may have acquired the painting directly from Chagall, who was a personal friend. It is not listed in the inventory of Stern's collection dated February 20, 1948 (registrar file), and so was probably acquired later.

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