- Marc Chagall: Orphée
- Sculpture Garden
In 1968, Marc Chagall visited the Georgetown home of his friends and patrons Evelyn and John Nef, and decided that he would design a mosaic specifically for the Nefs’ garden. There the work—Orphée (Orpheus)—remained until it was bequeathed to the National Gallery of Art by Evelyn (1913–2009). This bequest also included 31 drawings, 46 prints, and 25 volumes from the collection that the Nefs had built together.
Chagall designed the maquette for the mosaic at his studio in France and hired Italian mosaicist Lino Melano—who created mosaics for Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, and Georges Braque. Using Murano glass, Carrara marble, and natural colored stones from Italy, Melano executed the ten-panel work and then installed it on site in the Nefs’ garden in Georgetown.
Chagall turned to the decorative arts, including mosaic, stained glass, and tapestry, in the latter part of his life. He completed commissions for cathedrals and civic settings in Europe, Israel, and the United States.
Organization: Organized by the National Gallery of Art.
Passes: Admission is always free and passes are not required.
Image: Marc Chagall, Russian, 1887-1985, Orphée, 1969, stone and glass mosaic, overall size: 302.9 x 517.84 cm (119 1/4 x 203 7/8 in.), National Gallery of Art, Washington, The John U. and Evelyn S. Nef Collection