New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1966. FIRST EDITION. With numerous full-page and text lithographs in color and black and white, and the large folding plates, "The finale ceiling of the Paris Opera" separately laid into back of book. Illustrated red cloth binding, dust wrapper in excellent condition containing the "printed in Paris" on the inside cover. A beautiful copy. First edition of this extraordinary volume which includes the large folding plates separately laid into the book. In 1958, Chagall designed the sets and costumes for a production of Maurice Ravel's ballet Daphnis et Chloe at the Paris Opera. After seeing the work, Andre Malraux, the French minister of culture, commissioned Chagall to design a new ceiling for the Paris Opera. Working with a surface of 560 square meters, Chagall divided the ceiling into color zones that he filled with landscapes and figures representing the luminaries of opera and ballet. The ceiling was unveiled on September 23, 1964, during a performance of the same Daphnis et Chloe, to great acclaim. It was typical of Chagall's masterpieces-childlike in its apparent simplicity yet luminous with color and evocative of the world of dreams and the subconscious.In addition to his painting, Chagall (1887-1985) engraved and produced hundreds of illustrations for special editions of Nikolai Gogol's Dead Souls, Jean de La Fontaine's Fables, and the Bible. In 1941, he fled with his wife from Nazi-occupied Paris to the United States, where he lived in and around New York City for seven years. Therafter he returned to France, eventually settling in the French Riviera village of St. Paul de Vence. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, he produced stained-glass windows, first for a cathedral in Metz, France, and then for a synagogue in Jerusalem. In 1964, Chagall completed a stained-glass window for the United Nations building in New York that was dedicated to the late Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold. In 1966, as a gift to the city that had sheltered him during World War II, he painted two vast murals for New York's Metropolitan Opera House. (Inventory #: 15957)
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