One of Manet's most significant works is "Luncheon on the Grass," which depicts a nude model in the presence of two men. This piece provoked and offended the critics of the time who claimed it was pornographic and immoral.
The Salon, one of the most influential galleries in Paris at the time, refused to exhibit the work, but it proved to be one of the pivotal works of art in the Salon des Refuges, a gallery whose specific reason for existence was to display the rejected works of leading artists. Many of the young Impressionists of the time followed Manet's lead and broke away from the traditional artistic styles of the past. This trend eventually served as the basis for modern art.
Marc Chagall (1887–1985), born in Belarus to a Hassidic family, began his education at a traditional Jewish school in Vitebsk. After studying with a local artist for several years, the artist moved to St. Petersberg in 1907 and continued his studies at the Zvantseva School. Chagall moved to Paris in 1910 and his inventive imagery won immediate recognition in the city's avant-garde circles. Here he began to assimilate cubist characteristics into his expressionistic style. He is considered a forerunner of surrealism.
The artist returned to Belarus in 1915 where his support of the Bolshevik Revolution led to his appointment as Commissar for the Arts in Vitebsk in 1918. During his tenure, Chagall founded an art school and museum but, disillusioned with the political environment of Russia, he returned to Paris in 1922, where where he spent most of his life.
He designed the sets and costumes for Stravinsky's ballet Firebird (1945). Chagall's twelve stained-glass windows, symbolizing the tribes of Israel, were exhibited in Paris and New York City before being installed (1962) in the Hadassah-Hebrew Univ. Medical Center synagogue in Jerusalem. His two vast murals for New York's Metropolitan Opera House, treating symbolically the sources and the triumph of music, were installed in 1966. Much of Chagall's work is rendered with an extraordinary formal inventiveness and a deceptive fairy-tale naïveté. Chagall illustrated numerous books, including Gogol's Dead Souls, La Fontaine's Fables, and Illustrations for the Bible (1956). A prolific artist and dazzling colorist, Chagall's vast oeuvre of both religious and secular subjects has gained worldwide recognition. A museum of his work opened in Nice in 1973. His name is also spelled Shagall.