In 1959, the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center commissioned a set of twelve stained-glass windows from Marc Chagall, more than a decade after the artist’s return from emigration to France. By then, he had become well known, having exhibited at many art shows. The windows, intended for a synagogue under construction, would symbolize the twelve tribes of Israel.
Working closely with master glass-makers Charles and Brigitte Marq from the renowned Atelier Simon, located in Rheims and dating to the 16th century, the artist threw himself into this large-scale project. The windows were inaugurated in 1962. Five preliminary stages were required to create the maquettes. The designs were worked out on small and medium-sized sheets of paper using pencil, India ink, watercolors, gouache as well as fabric-and-paper collages. Each technique and each stage allowed the artist to place the iconographic elements in accordance with his own reading of the Old Testament text. He could thus master the density and movement of the materials and colors, not to mention their interaction with transparency and light when transposed to glass in monumental form.
This pictorial cycle, created to harmonize with the selected material and with light, is reviving Chagall’s designs and colors, this time on porcelain.