Four Tales From the Arabian Nights (Mourlot 36 - 47; Cramer Books 18)

by Marc Chagall


The complete set of twelve lithographs printed in colors, 1948, each signed in pencil, inscribed with the plate number and numbered 58/90 (there was also a deluxe edition of ten in Roman numerals with an additional thirteenth lithograph), also numbered in blue ink on the justification, loose (as issued), on laid paper, printed by Albert Carman, New York, published by Pantheon, New York, with title page, justification page and table of contents, contained in the original paper wrappers with text and paper-covered boards (12 prints)

Each image approx.: 370 by 280 mm (14.5 by 11 in)
Each sheet: 432 by 330 mm (17H by 13W in)


Born Moishe Zakharovich Shagal, 6 July 1887 – 28 March 1985, was a Russian-French artist of Belarusian Jewish origin. An early modernist, he was associated with several major artistic styles and created works in virtually every artistic format, including painting, book illustrations, stained glass, stage sets, ceramic, tapestries and fine art prints.
Art critic Robert Hughes referred to Chagall as "the quintessential Jewish artist of the 20th century” (though Chagall saw his work as "not the dream of one people but of all humanity"). According to art historian Michael J. Lewis, Chagall was considered to be "the last survivor of the first generation of European modernists". For decades, he "had also been respected as the world's pre-eminent Jewish artist". Using the medium of stained glass, he produced windows for the cathedrals of Reims and Metz,windows for the UN and the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Jerusalem Windows in Israel. He also did large-scale paintings, including part of the ceiling of the Paris Opera.
Before World War I, he travelled between Saint Petersburg, Paris, and Berlin. During this period he created his own mixture and style of modern art based on his idea of Eastern European Jewish folk culture. He spent the wartime years in Soviet Belarus, becoming one of the country's most distinguished artists and a member of the modernist avant-garde, founding the Vitebsk Arts College before leaving again for Paris in 1922.
He had two basic reputations, writes Lewis: as a pioneer of modernism and as a major Jewish artist. He experienced modernism's "golden age" in Paris, where "he synthesized the art forms of Cubism, Symbolism, and Fauvism, and the influence of Fauvism gave rise to Surrealism”". Yet throughout these phases of his style "he remained most emphatically a Jewish artist, whose work was one long dreamy reverie of life in his native village of Vitebsk. "When Matisse dies," Pablo Picasso remarked in the 1950s, "Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what colour really is".