Art Gallery Finds Rare Chagall Painting at Auction
LONDON — The Ben Uri Jewish Museum of Art knows firsthand that art auctions can offer not only superb finds but bargain prices as well. The small London art gallery paid roughly $43,000 – a fraction of its estimated $1.6 million value – for a rare Marc Chagall painting at a Paris auction last fall.
The exceptional painting, Apocalypse in Lilac, Capriccio (1945), is one of only 10 Chagall works of art created between 1938 and 1945 to feature a Jewish Christ. Gallery representatives recognized the work in the auction catalog “as a missing piece of Chagall’s wartime imagery,” telling the press recently, “this previously unknown work is Chagall’s deeply personal expression of horror and mourning for the Jewish civilization almost wiped out by the Nazis alongside and merged with grief for his late wife Bella, who died eight months earlier.”
The Ben Uri gallery was definitely in the right place at the right time, admitting that they may not have gotten such a bargain if the world’s big galleries knew about the painting’s existence (oh well, it seems Park West Gallery wasn’t the only one to miss out on this one).
Apocalypse will be unveiled at a public exhibition on Jan. 8 in London.