Chagall Exhibit Slated for 2017 at Selby Gardens

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The six-month interdisciplinary program to feature botanical imagery by the artist

"The Lovers," by Marc Chagall

"The Lovers," by Marc Chagall courtesy of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

“We also look forward to seeing our painting presented through the lens of Chagall’s inspiration from nature, which will shed new light on his pioneering career," said James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum.

In February 2017, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens will open the first in the Jean & Alfred Goldstein Exhibition Series of interdisciplinary arts and horticultural exhibitions that will feature internationally-known works of art. The first exhibit will feature the botanical imagery of Marc Chagall, the renowned 20th Century artist.

Marc Chagall’s Cote d’Azur: The Artist’s Botanical Imagery and Inspiration Found on the French Riviera will be a six-month long exhibition that will incorporate key works created by Chagall in France that feature botanical imagery inspired by his time in the south of France. At the centerpiece of the exhibit will be “The Lovers,” an oil painting Chagall created in 1937 that will be on loan from the collection of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, a world-leading art and archaeology museum.

“This new exhibition program is an exciting shift for Selby Gardens and it raises the bar for all of our public programs,” said Jennifer O. Rominiecki, President and CEO of Selby Gardens. “The presentation of original works by world-renowned artists in a non-traditional art museum venue, coupled with world class Gardens-wide displays and activities that play off themes explored in the artworks, will make extraordinary changes in the way that visitors experience the Gardens.”

As the first exhibit in the Jean & Alfred Goldstein Exhibition Series, the seminal work by Chagall from The Israel Museum, Jerusalem will be displayed in the Gardens’ historic Christy Payne Mansion, home of Selby Gardens’ Museum of Botany & the Arts, along with accompanying materials. The series harkens back to the museum’s original purpose, which, when founded in 1979, was to display major fine arts exhibits relative to nature. Although Chagall has been studied many times, this is the first known exhibit to examine the artist’s work in this context at a botanical garden.

“We are delighted to partner with Selby Gardens on the loan of this incredible masterwork by Chagall, whose connection to Israel throughout his lifetime and to the founding of our Museum holds special meaning for us,” said James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum. “We also look forward to seeing our painting presented through the lens of Chagall’s inspiration from nature, which will shed new light on his pioneering career, as well as providing a first opportunity for us to lend to a major exhibition in a botanical garden setting, making us that much more appreciative of Selby Gardens’ innovative approach in this new exhibition series.”

The lead sponsor of this Chagall exhibit is The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee.

“We are looking forward to the 2017 season and the display of renowned Jewish artist Marc Chagall,” said Howard Tevlowitz, Executive Director of The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee. “We are excited to share this magnificent masterpiece with the entire community as we begin our countdown to Israel’s 70th birthday.”

Major support for this exhibit has been provided by The William G. & Marie Selby Foundation, Margot and Warren Coville, Norbert P. and Ann Winslow Donelly and Tervis. Additional support is provided by Ernest R. Kretzmer in Memory of Alisa Kretzmer, Betsy and Doug Elder, Katherine & Frank Martucci, Charlotte and Charles Perret and Alice W. Rau.

During the Chagall exhibit, horticultural displays will offer a view of the French Riviera environment that inspired the artist. The Tropical Conservatory will feature a changing exhibit of the flora of St. Paul de Vence, the picturesque village where Chagall spent the latter part of his life. Plant life there features the likes of orchids, bromeliads, bougainvillea and citrus trees. Outdoors, visitors strolling through Selby Gardens’ lush Bayfront gardens will be greeted by eloquent quotes that illustrate Chagall’s deep reverence for nature.

This exhibition will be guest curated by Dr. Carol Ockman. Dr. Ockman is a professor of Art History at Williams College (Williamstown, Mass.), with dual specialties in French art of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and contemporary art and culture. She earned her doctorate and master’s degrees in Art History from Yale University and a bachelor’s degree in the same subject as well as Italian from Stanford University. Dr. Ockman has been a previous guest curator at the Jewish Museum in New York. She will present a keynote lecture about Chagall during the exhibit, which is presented by Williams Parker.

The Chagall exhibition will also be enhanced by complementary education programs and tours, themed special events, French-themed performances by some of Sarasota’s top performing arts organizations and will offer French Riviera-themed food and drink, cooking demonstrations, led by Michael’s On East, the Gardens’ exclusive culinary partner, and more.

“Since opening to the public in 1975, Selby Gardens has been internationally recognized for the stellar quality of its plant collections, especially its collection of epiphytes,” Rominiecki said. “An exhibit like this will introduce new visitors to the beauty and breadth of our Gardens.”    

To provide additional support for this exhibit, please contact development(at) or call 941-366-5731.


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Mischa Kirby, APR
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