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Born in Russia Chagall entered art school in St Petersburg in 1907. His early style combined primitive representation of fold art with the more sophisticated influences of Gaugin and the Fauves whose work he saw in St Petersburg.
In 1910 Chagall went to paris but was back in his home town of Vitesbsk by 1914 when he joined the Knave of Diamond Group. Declaring their admiration for French painting this group mounted an exhibition designed as protest against the Moscow Art School. After the revolution in 1917, Chagall briefly became the Director of Vitebsk Art School.
His richly coloured lyrical paintings depict objects and people in unusual juxtapositions, often floating in space. His later work produced designs for the ballet, stained glass windows, painting for the ceiling of the Paris Opera and for the Metropolitan Opera House, New York.
Chagall died in 1985 but his work hangs in all major galleries throughout the world, and he is thought by many to be one of the greatest artists of the Twentieth Century.