Joshua and the Vanquished Kings

Marc Chagall
Joshua and the Vanquished Kings

An original hand-signed Marc Chagall etching.


Original etching printed in black ink on wove paper bearing the “ARCHES” watermark, with hand-coloring added.

Hand-signed in pencil with the artist’s monogram in pencil in the margin lower right M.Ch, also signed in the plate upper left chagall.

A superb impression of the definitive state, from the hand-colored deluxe edition of 100, numbered in pencil lower left (apart from the unsigned and uncolored book edition of 275). Plate 49 of 105 from the album La Bible. Commissioned in 1930 by Ambroise Vollard; published by Efstratios Tériade, Paris, 1956; printed by Raymond Hassen, Paris.

Catalog: Cramer 30 XLIX

Marc Chagall’s Bible represents an enormous undertaking, embarked upon in his middle age and completed only after twenty-five years. It brings together the mature artist’s spirituality and childhood’s fantasy through the sophisticated artistry of a master printmaker. In Chagall’s Bible from Genesis through the Prophets, the Hasidism of Vitebsk encounter Rembrandt and El Greco beneath the vivid light of Palestine.

Chagall approaches the Bible with an independent and uniquely humanist interpretation. Through psychologically acute portraits of key individuals in decisive moments, Chagall illustrates the Old Testament as a cycle of historic encounters between man and God. Drawing upon all the extremes of human emotion and experience within man’s life cycle, Chagall illustrates the human condition. Thus, patriarchs, kings and prophets are never idealized but are revealed in their weakness and strength.

Chagall’s Bible etchings range between pure expression and illustration. Some extract the essence of the text while others visually delight in the evocative and descriptive poetry of the verses. Yet each work remains closely allied to the textual source, thereby enhancing the accessibility of its biblical message.