“Le Père” — one of Marc Chagall‘s important early works, and French for “The Father” — will be auctioned by Phillips this November with an estimated worth of $6 million to $8 million.
If that’s too pricey, Chagall’s former Catskills art studio is also on the market for $240,000.
The home, at 420 Mohonk Road between High Falls and the Mohonk Preserve near New Paltz, has not been touched for more than half a century.
A portrait of Chagall’s father created in 1911, “Le Père” is one of 15 works that the French government restituted earlier this year as part of an effort to return museum holdings seized by the Nazis during WWII.
The Nazis stole “Le Père” and other art from the collection of David Cender, a Polish musical instrument maker who died with his family at Auschwitz, one of the Nazis’ most notorious death camps.
Chagall’s colorful and fantastical dream-like works, including floating lovers and idyllic country scenes, had a profound impact on 20th-century art. Chagall, the subject of several exhibits at New York’s Jewish Museum over the years, grew up in a Hasidic family and is often linked to the place he came from — Vitebsk, in what’s now Belarus — and the places he landed like Paris and the French Riveria’s Saint-Paul de Vince.
But in between, Chagall and Bella Rosenfeld — his first love, wife and muse — fled the Nazis and escaped to New York.
They lived on East 74th Street and Chagall’s New York work includes the giant murals he created for the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center.
After his beloved Bella died, he moved to the Catskills from 1946 to 1948, where he lived with his decades-younger lover and former housekeeper, Virginia Haggard McNeil, an artist and daughter of a British diplomat who was pregnant with their son, David — while still married to another man and mother of their 5-year-old daughter.
The gray-shingled former turn-of-the-century studio sits on half an acre in High Falls.
It’s a modest 840 square feet and consists of two bedrooms, one bath, a dining room, a family room and a kitchen, with original wood floors and beams, says listing broker Elizabeth Perez, of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hudson Valley.
Chagall died in 1985 at age 97.
Ten years later, the High Falls studio was featured in a 1995 local magazine, “Chagall’s Days in High Falls.” It was part of a larger property, which included Chagall’s home, and has since been sold and subdivided. The studio opens to a tiled mudroom that leads to a kitchen overlooking the backyard. There’s also a skylight in the main bedroom with a slated ceiling upstairs. The land includes a forested area.
Perez also told Gimme that the FBI has a file on the house and Chagall from his time there. “The house has layers upon layers of stories,” Perez said. “The FBI claimed to be looking for counterfeit two-dollar bills, and took Chagall out of the house and X-rayed the walls.”
She added that the seller has lived there since the 1960s.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.