My research focuses on Marc Chagall’s so-called “second Vitebsk period” which covers the time from his return to his native city in 1914 and his marriage to Bella Rosenfeld in 1915 to his retreat to Moscow in 1920. In 1918, Chagall was appointed as the Commissar of Plastic Arts for Vitebsk by the new Soviet government in Moscow, in which role he founded an art school and organized an avant-gardist carnival to celebrate the first anniversary of the October Revolution. Chagall’s time in office in Vitebsk was not crowned with success, however, and he left in 1920 under pressure of local incomprehension and increasing criticism. After his departure from the city, any signs of his presence in Vitebsk were removed. I will provide a detailed account of Chagall’s second Vitebsk period and try to shed light on its key aspects, using Bourdieuian concepts.
Victor Martinovich is Associate Professor at the European Humanities University in Vilnius and a Milena Jesenská Visiting Fellow at the IWM.