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Customer Review

on January 23, 2012
Although this book identifies Chagall as being Jewish, only two of the book's reproductions show Jewish themes (THE SABBATH and LITERATURE - the latter showing a man writing a Torah). On the other hand, there are two crucifixion reproductions, and a fiddler with a church in the near background.

The author writes that "Hitler hated anyone of the Jewish faith." So the Chagalls "left France right away." One might think that the problem was that "Hitler...didn't like modern art...took (art) out of museums, and sometimes even had the paintings destroyed!" (The exclamation mark is in the text).

The reader would never know that HUMAN BEINGS were being threatened with destruction. Or that the Chagalls had to ESCAPE occupied France. That experience doesn't warrant an exclamation mark - much less strong descriptive words - from the author. They "left France right away," he says. Gee, I wonder why everyone else didn't leave.

The author tells his readers that Chagall was "upset" about the war, but the "terrible" thing that happened that made for the "worst" time in his life was the death of his wife, Bella.

Well, the death of one's beloved wife is awful, but one would never guess from the text that the Chagalls barely escaped an earlier death at the hands of the Nazis.

If one is going to tell about the adventures and sorrows of a man's life, he'd better not evade the central adventure that made that life possible.

And how is a child to reconcile the concepts of Chagall's Jewish identity with the very Christian images of the the reproductions? Of course they exist, but so do many others.

The author's choices of images, of strong words, and even exclamation marks, create an odd emphasis that makes this a dubious introduction to the life and works of the artist it attempts to represent.

This is the first book of the series I purchased. I now would be skeptical of buying others.
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