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October 03, 2003 - Image 104

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-10-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Arts Life

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Living Legacy

Chagalls granddaughter spends her time cultivating
the famed artist's life work.

SHOSHANA HEBSHI

Jewish Bulletin of Northern California

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San Francisco
s a child and young woman,
Bella Meyer would sit easel-
side to her grandfather,
Marc Chagall, as he created
whimsical paintings at his home in the
south of France.
"He'd talk and show me things, and
he'd paint," Meyer recalled during a
recent phone interview
from New York. "He'd
ask me questions. It
was very important to
him that I would find
the ideal in life, that I
would find the right
path.
"He asked what I
believed in, if I under-
stood his paintings. I
said I hoped I did."
Evidently, Meyer,
now 48, understands
her grandfather's paint-
ings pretty well, as she
spends her time —
with the help of her
twin sister who lives in
Paris — cultivating and
maintaining Chagall's
legacy.
Meyer, who recently
visited the San
Francisco Museum of
Modern Art's major
retrospective of
Chagall's work, which
Marc Chagall in his studio in Vence, France: "The only
runs at the museum
wish he had is that young people would look at his art
through Nov. 4, grew
and learn more about love and hope," says his grand-
. up in Switzerland in a
daughter Bella Meyer.
home fortified by art.
Her mother,
Chagall's daughter, Ida, also was a
point she stopped, and I don't really
painter, and indoctrinated her children know why. But I think it was just too
hard for her to be an artist in her own
with artistic sensibilities. Meyer's
father, who was Swiss, was a museum
right, next to her father.
"And also, somehow it was easier to
director.
take care of his work. She very much
And Meyer herself continues to
believed in his work and did every-
paint, though she says in her French-
thing for it."
accented voice, her paintings aren't
Chagall's stature as a celebrated
"interesting."
artist did not impede Meyer's relation-
Living in Switzerland, Meyer's fami-
ship with her grandfather. She knew
ly was very close to the painter
him, of course, on different levels that
Chagall. They would visit often as a
reached beyond his paintings. And she
family, and later, when she moved to
adored him.
Paris, Meyer would regularly see her

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grandfather on solo visits.
Ida, who taught Meyer to paint, was
very involved in helping with Chagall's
exhibitions, Meyer says. "They talked
on the phone every day."
But, Meyer says, of her mother as an
artist, it may have been too great a
responsibility to be related to such an
illustrious painter.
"She was a wonderful painter; she
painted until after the Second World
War," Meyer says. "But then at one

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