From the exhibition catalogue:
Marc Chagall first visited the University of Chicago in 1946, when at the invitation of the Committee on Social Thought, he gave the lecture on “The Artist” in the series “The Works of the Mind,” which was published in book form in 1947. This is the only lecture he has ever given.
As Elinor Nef wrote of his lecture at the time, “It fitted admirably into the series, which was designed to show how all the works of the mind (not just the scientific works) have a common imaginative and spiritual source, as well as a common intellectual content.”
At the time he gave his lecture he was living in New York, in exile. This year, led by his belief in the aims of the Committee, and to further its work, he has come from France especially for a series of closed seminars on the subject “Art and Life.”
One can get some idea of Mr. Chagall’s approach to this great matter from a recorded comment he recently made on some letter that Elinor Nef wrote him eleven years ago: “For me life divides itself into two parts—Life and death—and for me whatever is not an inner truth is death. But maybe—to be a little more concrete—or if you prefer, more truthful, one must use the word ‘love,’ because there is the true color, not only in art but in life. “Without love an art is not art, and a life is not life. Without love we see all the chaos into which art and life periodically descend, in which I fear they find themselves at this moment. The great crisis of art and of life is a crisis of Love.”
The Committee on Social Thought and the Renaissance Society gratefully acknowledge the generosity of the lenders which has made possible this exhibiiton which the Renaissance Society has assembled to honor Mr. Chagall. The exhibition was assembled and arranged by Joseph Randall Shapiro, who is a member of the Board of Directors of the Renaissance Society.