man at left wearing bowler hat, with three animals (goat, sheep and pig) in a cart; plate 92 from "Les Fables de la Fontaine"

© Artists Rights Society %28ARS%29%2C New York %2F ADAGP%2C Paris

Le Berger et son troupeau, 1927-30 (published 1952)

Etchingexpand_more

Bequest of Mr. Clinton Morrisonexpand_more  2013.28

Not on Viewexpand_more

Parisian publisher Ambroise Vollard first commissioned Chagall to design book illustrations for a deluxe edition of Jean de la Fontaine's "Fables" in 1926. Vollard's decision to use a Russian-born artist to illustrate a revered French text drew some criticism, but Vollard defended his choice by saying the fables were part of Asia Minor's oral tradition, not France's, and would benefit from being drawn by an artist from the East. Between 1927 and 1930, Chagall produced 100 etched plates to illustrate the fables, but the project was delayed by Vollard's untimely death in 1939 and the outbreak of World War II. It was finally completed in 1952 under the Parisian publisher Tériade. In this etching, Chagall interprets a fable by the Italian writer Abstemius (c. 1440–1508), which tells of a shepherd who harangues his flock to stand as one against a ravenous wolf. Though they pledge to stand and fight, nature prevails and the flock flees at the first sight of the wolf's shadow. Abstemius ends his tale by comparing the fleeing animals with "craven soldiers" who lose their fighting spirit at the first sound of battle.

Details
Title
Le Berger et son troupeau
Artist Life
Russian (born Belarus, active France), 1887 - 1985
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2013.28
Provenance
Clinton Morrison, Wayzata, Minn.; Estate of Clinton Morrison; given to MIA, 2013
Catalogue Raisonne
Cramer 22; Sorlier p. 46; V&A 79
Curator Approved

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man at left wearing bowler hat, with three animals (goat, sheep and pig) in a cart; plate 92 from "Les Fables de la Fontaine"

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

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