My Life
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My Life

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  207 ratings  ·  26 reviews
My Life was written in Moscow in 1921–1922, when Chagall was thirty-five years old. Although long out-of-print, it remains one of the most extraordinarily inventive and beautifully told of all autobiographies. The text is accompanied by twenty plates which Chagall prepared especially to illustrate his life story. Together, the words and pictures paint an incomparable portr...more
Paperback, 172 pages
Published March 22nd 1994 by Da Capo Press (first published January 1st 1959)
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Cherry Jeffs
My Life By Marc Chagall is an autobiography of the first part of the artist's life, written when Chagall was only 35 and illustrated with 50 sketches and prints also by the artist.

With the intimacy of a diary, Chagall reminisces about the period of his childhood in the Russian 'shtetl' of Vitebsk, his art studies in St Petersburg, his first contact with the art world in Paris ending with his return to Russia – including his period as Commissioner for the Arts in Vitebsk after the Bolshevik Revo...more
Molly Cecile
This book was an incredibly fantastic surprise! I love the fact that I can read something about Marc Chagall's life from his own words and after I finished reading the book, I wanted more! Unfortunately, this book isn't as popular as it should be! I highly suggest reading it, especially if you're an artist. It's very inspiring.

Chagall grew up in a tiny Jewish town in Belorussia, or just what was Russia at that time. Although he wasn't rich and his parents were against him being an artist, Chaga...more
Reading Chagall is like listening to a child telling a story. "I did this and I did this and I did this and he fell and he did this and she did this and they did this and we ate this and she laughed and the mountains were there and he died and I loved." All very short paragraphs, meandering paragraphs with no focused thought. But it was refreshing to read because it was honest, straight feeling thoughts like those from an enthused kid. A kid doesn't know what enthusiasm is. The kid just is. Ther...more
This was written when Marc Chagall's life was not even half over, so if you are wanting to find out about his whole life -- especially his work in the international art world -- this will not satisfy. On the other hand, this is his own voice, with lots of stories about his childhood and youth in Vitebsk and discovery of Paris -- plus it is illustrated with his own pen-and-ink drawings. Worth a read, but not a thorough study. He kind of wanted to be a poet -- but his paintings are way better!
Aaron Benarroch
Well, it was one of those selfbiographies who disappoint you because you see that your myth is real, it's alive and it's... just a human as you, he suffers like you, he ages like you, he goes to the bathroom like you. It's interesting to see how one of your favourite artist became who he is, on the other side I have the feeling that beside incredibly gifted for painting, he was just like me and my neighbour. And I haven't yet decided if this should comfort of discomfort me.
A poetic autobiography unlike any I've read before. It's an interesting insight into Chagall as a person and artist (emphasis on the latter) but also - with so much time that has now elapsed - into the state of Russia/Soviet Union and Europe during the early part of his life.
He wrote this in 1922, when he still had another 60+ years to live and one wonders what a sequel would have looked like.
Wonderful, simple drawings by Chagall illustrate the book.
Chagall's autobiography is almost as hallucinatory and psychedelic as his art work: vibrant, optimistic, and mystical. I loved reading this account of his life, from his childhood in a conservative Jewish family in Russia to his poor years in Paris to the loving relationship he maintained with his wife Bella.
blog post when i was reading this book:
I write in the margins of his autobiography, "I LOVE THIS MAN!" I love his ambivalence towards his homeland:
"In Russia, I'm only he fifth wheel of the coach. And everything I do seems outlandish to them, and everything they do seems futile to me. I can say no more. I love Russia."
I love the struggle it was for him to be an artist as a poor Jewish man, who was restricted where he could live, where he could go... but knew he had to paint.
"will God or someone...more
Отличная книга, прочитав ее просто невозможно не влюбиться в картины Шагала. Как написал сам Шагал: "Писал эти страницы как краски по холсту. Если бы на моих картинах был кармашек, я бы положил их туда..." Эту книгу можно использовать как лекарство для души, она буквально пропитана любовью к родному городу, к близким людям, к жизни. А образы такие яркие и поэтичные, что не перестаешь удивляться как в простых явлениях жизни можно увидеть столько красоты.
Alison Kudlowski
If you ever wondered where the idea for 'Fiddler on the roof' came from..look no further. Simply written..through the eyes seemingly of a child..poetic (perhaps he sought the written word in his painting...this autobiographical work is written as if he is dancing his way through life....he writes as he paints...magically.

A wonderful read - all about Chagall's early life in Witebsk in the 1890's, through his art education in St. Petersburg, Moscow and Paris, to his return to Witebsk and his work in art and theater there after WWI and the Russian Revolution. Chagall writes the same way he paints. Emotions, Impressions, Exclamations!, Everyday Mysticism, Angles and Colors in Loaves of Bread and Bottles of Wine. On many occasions he introduces us through his prose to characters that inhabit his paintings, which I fo...more
Ana Sorce
Для меня посещение выставки Шагала в Нью Йорке совпало с прочтением этой книги. Надо сказать, что на картины в этот раз я взглянула совсем другими глазами. Его разнообразный символизм стал гораздо понятнее. Книга, написанная неповторимым стилем, полна самобытности и мудрости.
This book is written in such a rambling style that it reminds me of Chagall's paintings. Another reviewer says the style is like that of a child and I agree. No explanations, no topical connections between paragraphs or sections, just: this happened and this happened. It' certainly interesting to read about his life in his own words, but a bit hard to follow. Now I'd like to read a really good biography about him.
''Unatoč svim nedaćama ovoga svijeta u meni se očuuvao dio one produhovljene ljubavi u kojoj sam odgojen i vjera u čovjeka koji je spoznao ljubav. U našem životu, kao i na slikarevoj paleti, postoji samo jedna boja koja može dati smisao životu i umjetnosti. Boja Ljubavi.''

''Ja ne razumijem ljude, baš kao ni svoje vlastite slike.''
Davor K
At the beginning, when I started reading I thought that this book will be very tough to go through because of seemingly unconnected style and short passages which try to tell so many things.
The style reminds a bit of a child trying to say many things at the same time using simple words.
Maybe a bit like his paintings?
César Lasso
I felt disappointed with this book by famous painter Marc Chagall. I had expected an autobiography, but the work was something more like a collection of loose notes about his feelings. Besides, the title is not very exact - Chagall died when he was 97 and this work was first published when the author was 35.
Mar 20, 2007 Chris rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Chagall fans.
It's not as good as his paintings. It captures a bit of his personality and his love for his home but not nearly as good as his painting's do. But hey, if he could write as good as he paints, this world would be an unjust place. There will never be a "Bo Knows" kinda campaign on this guy.
It's such a shame I needed, like, two months to finish this book, since it's not even really thick. But sometimes life interferes and also it is written in a really poetical style which seems a little too poetical for me. I still enjoyed most parts, though.
Aug 22, 2013 H.Friedmann added it
Shelves: art, memoir
I didn't rate this because I honestly don't know what I think. It's not like any other autobiography I have ever read. Positively dream-like and poetical, I immediately went to Wikipedia upon finishing it to get a more solid view on Chagall.
Lydia St Giles
.review to follow
It would be easy to call this book arrogant because he wrote it in his thirties, but I found it wise and fond and ultimately interesting.
He inspires me - you can actually vividly see how he'd paint through his writing. Amazing!

I just wish there were more pictures :)
the beauty of man whose life is depicted by very close persons, angels, and creatures not seen by human eye
I think I like his paintings rather than his writing. Maybe someone else should have chosen the words for him
Writes just like he paints.
Ana marked it as to-read
Jul 15, 2014
Matt Jorgensen
Matt Jorgensen marked it as to-read
Jul 13, 2014
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“Cependant les années s'avançaient. Il fallait commencer à imiter les autres, leur ressembler.” 0 likes
“Vielleicht ist meine Kunst die Kunst eines Wahnsinnigen, ein funkelndes Quecksilber, eine blaue Seele, die über meine Bilder hereinbricht.” 0 likes
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