The upcoming exhibition of the Museum of Applied Arts and Design to feature ceramic art and tapestries by Chagall, Picasso and Ernst

  • 2024-04-23

At 5 pm Thursday, 25 April, the Museum of Applied Arts and Design of the LNMA invites to the opening of two new exhibitions. The Chagall Picasso Ernst. Ceramics and Tapestries presents ceramic works and tapestries woven based on the works of some of the most influential artists, trend-setters of 20th-century art. The exhibition is accompanied by Darius Hecq-Cauquil’s show Reconnection with Origins. The exhibitions will run until 30 September. 

“Lithuanian art lovers are offered a unique opportunity to see the lesser known yet no less charming creations by Chagall in the field of ceramics and tapestry, thus learning of yet another aspect of his multifaceted creativity. The manifold collection of artworks, from ceramic pieces, conjured up by his amazing phantasy, to his gracious tapestries, abound in his playful experiments with form, texture and narrative. Just like Chagall’s legendary paintings and prints, these pieces invite us into his universe of dreams, where folklore, mythology and personal experience are woven together into a fantastic fabric of images and emotions,” director general of the LNMA Dr Arūnas Gelūnas is enthusiastic about the coming display. 

“Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst were among those leading artists who defined 20th-century art field. Most viewers are well familiar with their paintings and prints, to a lesser degree, with their ceramic artwork occasionally introduced for the sake of variety into their shows, but the tapestries created based on their works are nearly unseen. This exhibition is a rare opportunity to see these exclusive works by the famous artists,” Vilma Gradinskaitė, curator of the exhibition, says. 

The first one in northeastern Europe

The exhibition Chagall Picasso Ernst. Ceramics and Tapestries is the first of the kind in Lithuania and in the neighbouring countries. Visitors to the exhibition will have a unique opportunity to see twenty-three ceramic pieces: plaquettes, plates, vases, jugs, and twelve tapestries produced by the master weaver Yvette Cauquil-Prince based on the cartoons by Chagall, Picasso and Ernst. 

Through their artwork, these artists communicate their ethical and moral values, they seek harmony with nature and evoke nostalgic reminiscences of their childhood. According to the exhibition curator, the works are organized along separate thematic strands: the Bible, war and peace, the native shtetl, the circus, the corrida, and love. “Our life, just like a painter’s palette, has just one colour capable of rendering our life and art meaningful. It is the colour of love,” the artist Marc Chagall believed. 

Chagall and Picasso: collaborative experiments  

Chagall moved to the USA leaving France, occupied by the Nazis. He returned to Europe only following the end of WWII and a sudden death of Bella, his beloved spouse. Having settled in the French Riviera, which had retained the tradition of archaic ceramic art, revived by the avantgarde artists at the turn of the 20th century, he found himself in one of the most ancient branches of art. In roughly over twenty years, from 1949 through 1972, Chagall produced over 350 ceramic pieces. 

Working at Madoura pottery studio in Vallauris, Chagall frequently encountered one of the most famous Spanish artists, Pablo Picasso. Both artists experimented with different techniques, looking for unexpected colour combinations produced in the firing kiln; they practiced hand building and wheel throwing to make vases, plates, plaquettes. Chagall and Picasso perceived the primeval symbolism of ceramics, when soil, that is, clay, transformed in the fire, assumes new forms and meanings.    

Chagall’s creative collaboration with the master weaver Yvette Cauquil-Prince, starting with their mid-1960s-acquaintance, continued for over two decades. Cauquil-Prince dedicated her knowledge, skill and talent to translate into textile the works by Chagall, Picasso, Ernst and by other painters. The exhibition, alongside others, features the first tapestries created on the basis of Chagall’s sketches Harlequin’s’ Family (1966) and Creation (1971). After Chagall’s death in 1985, the master weaver continued to create tapestries based on his artwork. 

The call back to origins by the artist Darius Hecq-Cauquil 

The exhibition Chagall Picasso Ernst. Ceramics and Tapestries is accompanied by Darius Hecq-Cauquil’s Reconnection with Origins. Among twenty pieces presented by the artist, feature tapestries, compositions of sawdust and oils on canvas, wood sculpture pieces polished by stones or sea waves and decorated in paints.

The artist born into the family of the painter Emile Hecq and the master weaver Cauquil-Prince, learned the craft of tapestry in his early age from his mother. Hecq-Cauquil has given more than forty solo shows in France, Belgium, Spain, Japan and other countries. His artwork is included into the French national collections, among them, of the Pompidou Centre. His art goes on show in Lithuania for the first time.

The opening of the exhibitions at 5 pm Thursday 25 April at the Museum of Applied Arts and Design (Arsenalo St 3A, Vilnius) will be attended by Mrs Meret Meyer and Mrs Bella Meyer, Marc Chagall’s granddaughters, and the artist Darius Hecq-Cauquil, the son of the master weaver Yvette Cauquil-Prince.  

Exhibition Chagall. Picasso. Ernst. Ceramics and Tapestry

Project director Džiuljeta Žiugždienė
Project coordinator Živilė Intaitė
Exhibition curator Dr Vilma Gradinskaitė
Architect Ūla Žebrauskaitė-Malinauskė
Graphic designer Jonė Miškinytė 

All the artworks on display in this exhibition belong to The Estate of Ida Chagall, The Estate of Michel Brodsky and The Estate of Yvette Cauquil-Prince. 

We thank Mrs Meret Meyer, Mrs Bella Meyer and Mr Darius Hecq-Cauquil for kindly loaning the ceramic artworks and tapestries.

Exhibition Reconnection with Origins
Curators Ambre Gauthier, Vilma Gradinskaitė
Architect Ūla Žebrauskaitė-Malinauskė
Graphic designer Jonė Miškinytė