Recently, while on the UWS, I spied a sign that announced a book sale in the basement of St. Agnes. Basement? I never knew they had one. They were getting ready to renovate and clearly wanted to get rid of stuff while raising funds. A steep set of stairs led down to a huge cement-floored basement that was filled with books as far as the eye could see. Heaven!
My Big Find was a book called The World of Marc Chagall, photographed by Izis Bidermanas and written by Roy McMullen. This book is incredible. It is filled with photos of Marc in action – creating sets for shows, stained glass windows, paintings, sketches, prints.
I like this passage from the preface:
"One [assumption] is that Chagall is to be taken at his word when he insists, as he often does, that his art contains a serious ‘message.’ The other is that this message is to be found in his work as a whole. There is meaning as well as entertainment in his figurative midsummer night’s dream of Vitebsk, Paris, blue moonlight, giant bouquets, weightless lovers, sad clowns, and fabulous beasts; and the same meaning emerges when we isolate fore study what he calls his ‘abstract’ colors, shapes and structures.”
I keep the book leaning against the bulletin board that sits on my desk as a constant source of inspiration.