Marc Chagall’s artwork is on display – in Tehran

An article in the Grosvenor House Arts and Antiques Fair special edition of the Art Newspaper gives news of the inclusion of seven paintings by Marc Chagall in an exhibition which opened at the Niavaran Palace Museum in Tehran.

Both the provenance of the paintings and the individual responsible for the choice of Chagall seem to defy the present Iranian regime’s political stance, although the Russian background of the artist may have been a reason.

Publicity for the show included a typical Chagall painting of a white dove flying over a young couple standing in a grove of palm trees.

Could displaying the work of a famous Jewish painter be a sign of goodwill from some courageous curator? And who are the owners? Are the paintings state-owned, from a private collection or the property of an exile?

The article in the Art Newspaper comments: “Both the choice of artist – Chagall was Jewish – and the timing is perhaps significant, given the foggy world of Iranian cultural politics.

According to political observers, it is poignant, given Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s repeated calls for Israel ‘to be wiped off the map’ and his statements describing the Holocaust as a “myth”, that the exhibition poster shows a Chagall image of a dove.”

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