S.Africa's constitutional court gets three works by Chagall

30th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

South Africa's constitutional court received three lithographs by Russian-French painter Marc Chagall on Thursday, a gift to the court's art collection from the late artist's granddaughters.

"In a court that is centred around the bill of rights, human dignity, equality and freedom, these pictures radiate the spirit of these qualities," said former constitutional court judge Albie Sachs at the unveiling ceremony.

"The paintings were given with love, were fed with love and take their place here with love," said Sachs, who rose to fame for his role in the anti-apartheid struggle.

South Africa's highest court began its collection in 1994 as the country made the transition from apartheid to multi-racial democracy.

The collection, which comprises 200 paintings and sculptures, is widely seen as a commemoration of democracy and human dignity.

The donated works were each originally posters for Chagall exhibits or events.

"The Magic Flute" was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera in New York as a poster for a 1967 performance with costumes designed by Chagall.

"Angel with Chandelier" was created as a poster announcing the inauguration of the Chagall Museum in Nice in 1973.

"The Angel of Judgment" was created as a poster for a 1974 exhibit.

Chagall, who was born in Belarus in 1887 and settled in France, created an ecumenical body of work that echoes the democratic and humanistic themes of the constitutional court's collection.

His major commissions include glass windows for the Cathedral of Metz in eastern France, windows for the synagogue of the Hadassah University Centre in Jerusalem and a glass window for the United Nations Building in New York.

He died in 1985.

© 2010 AFP

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