Marc Chagall (IPA: ʃʌ-ɡɑːl); (7 July 1887 – 28 March 1985), was a Jewish Russian artist, born in Belarus (then Russian Empire) and naturalized French in 1937, associated with several key art movements and was one of the most successful artists of the twentieth century. He forged a unique career in virtually every artistic medium, including paintings, book illustrations, stained glass, stage sets, ceramics, tapestries and fine art prints. Chagall's haunting, exuberant, and poetic images have enjoyed universal appeal, and art critic Robert Hughes called him "the quintessential Jewish artist of the twentieth century."
As a pioneer of modernism and one of the greatest figurative artists of the twentieth century, Marc Chagall achieved fame and fortune, and over the course of a long career created some of the best-known and most-loved paintings of our time. 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 preeminent Jewish artist.” He also accepted many non-Jewish commissions, including a stained glass for the cathedrals of Reims and Metz, a Dag Hammarskjold memorial at the United Nations, and the great ceiling mural in the Paris Opéra.
His most vital work was made on the eve of World War I, when he traveled between St. Petersburg, Paris, and Berlin. During this period he created his own mixture and style of modern art based on his visions of Eastern European Jewish folk culture. He spent his wartime years in Russia, and the October Revolution of 1917 brought Chagall both opportunity and peril. He was by now one of the Soviet Union's most distinguished artists and a member of the modernist avante-garde. He founded the Vitebsk Arts College, which was considered the most distinguished school of art in the Soviet Union. However, "Chagall was considered a non-person by the Soviets because he was Jewish and a painter whose work did not celebrate the heroics of the Soviet people." As a result, he soon moved to Paris with his wife, never to return.