Livermore Valley Arts 


Ruth Egherman (925) 583-2306 

Anne Giancola (978) 852-6333 

Limited Edition Chagall Prints & Symbolic Art on Display 

in New Gallery Exhibit at Livermore Valley Arts 

Livermore, CA – (March 7, 2024) – A meaningful new exhibit, “Illuminating Symbols in Art: From Chagall to Contemporary Symbolism,” is on display this spring at the UNCLE Credit Union Art Gallery from March 14 to May 19, 2024. On loan to the Gallery, this exhibit significantly features twelve lithographs created by artist Marc Chagall (1887—1985), a stunning tribute to a dream of love, friendship, and peace among all people. Free and open to the public, viewers are invited to admire these color-filled artworks alongside contemporary artists from around the Bay Area, working in various genres with their own versions of symbolic art. Experience this considerable exhibit in person at the UNCLE Credit Union Art Gallery at the Bankhead Theater in Downtown Livermore Thursdays through Sundays, 1 pm5 pm. 

A valuable addition to this exhibit, Illuminating Symbols in Art will showcase remarkable lithographs inspired by Marc Chagall’s iconic “Jerusalem Windows.” Created between 1962 and 1964, Chagall’s original stained glass windows adorn the Hadassah Medical Center synagogue in Jerusalem, serving as a symbol of hope, healing, and cultural richness. These lithographs offer a unique glimpse into Chagall’s interpretation of the biblical themes and traditions that inspired his work. Marc Chagall, a celebrated Jewish artist born in Vitebsk, Belarus, in 1887, was deeply influenced by his Jewish heritage and the stories of the Bible. His Jerusalem Windows series reflects his profound connection to Jerusalem and his desire to create art transcending religious boundaries. Through vibrant colors, whimsical imagery, and symbolic motifs, Chagall masterfully captures the essence of spirituality and unity. Each lithograph in this collection represents a different biblical tribe, themes relating to the biblical 12 sons of Jacob, progenitors of the 12 Tribes of Israel, reflecting Chagall’s interpretation of

their respective symbols and narratives and coming out of Chagall’s immersed study of Genesis 49 and Deuteronomy 33. From the radiant hues of “Issachar” to the ethereal beauty of “Judah,” these artworks invite viewers to immerse themselves in a world of faith, tradition, and artistic brilliance. Chagall’s unique fusion of Jewish folklore, personal memories, and universal themes elevates these lithographs to timeless masterpieces. Visitors this spring are invited to allow these lithographs to inspire an appreciation of the beauty of cultural diversity and the power of artistic expression. 

Much like the Bay Area artists on display, the Chagall pieces demonstrate a dance of intricate images and stunning colors. When Marc Chagall debuted a series of biblically inspired stained-glass windows at the Louvre in Paris and then at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan in 1961, these shows were only stopovers before the windows reached their permanent home on the campus of Hadassah’s new medical center in Jerusalem. The Chagall Windows captured the public imagination across the world. John F. Kennedy, then president of the United States, called them “extraordinary.” “The inspiration of an ancient and noble history and the inspiration of modern artistic genius are combined in these windows,” Kennedy wrote to Miriam Freund, then National President of the Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization of America. “The importance of this cultural event is deepened for us by our knowledge that the windows are destined for the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center,” Kennedy wrote, “and that by their beauty, they will serve and encourage the scientific and humanitarian work done there.” Dedicated in Jerusalem on February 6, 1962, as part of Hadassah’s golden anniversary celebration, the windows have been in place for over 60 years. “This is my modest gift to the Jewish people who have always dreamt of biblical love, friendship, and peace among all peoples,” Chagall noted that day. 

The windows came about when Hadassah representatives met with Chagall in Paris in the late 1950s. They came well-prepared with a compelling request for stained glass for what is now called the Abbell Synagogue. Expecting one or two windows, Chagall constructed a supersized series of twelve windows in response and donated them as a gift. The synagogue was still in the planning stages in 1958, and due to Chagall’s extraordinary and brilliant work, the synagogue was built for those windows. The windows feature brilliant reds, blues, yellows, and greens and a visual vocabulary expressing the biblical text and Jewish history, Chagall’s world both real and perceived, his love and profound identification with the history and culture of Jewish people and his early life in the Russian shtetl of Vitebsk. “All the time I

was working, I felt my mother and father looking over my shoulder; and behind them were Jews, millions of other vanished Jews, of yesterday and a thousand years ago,” said Chagall at the time. The windows “completely transformed my vision; they gave me a great shock, they made me reflect. I don’t know how I shall paint from now on, but I believe something is taking place.” Each panel is filled with a dance of intricate images, compelling themes, and stunning colors, and together tells the story of the Jewish people. Like a coral reef of magnificent diversity, the longer one observes them, the more one sees. While developing the concept in 1959, Chagall employed extensive maquettes and final color sketches that began in pen and ink, collage, and gouache. He teamed with a married pair of stained-glass artists, Charles Marq and Brigitte Simon-Marq, with whom he later collaborated on the cathedral at Metz. Artisans blew and rolled the final glass panels in the Loire Valley. Chagall painted, etched, and scratched panes of about 50 colors at the Atelier Simon in Reims, France. He employed a “free, water-soluble medium,” intensifying color, creating new patterns, and adding designs before firing them again. Chagall’s dedicated handiwork reflects the artist’s inner workings. “Glass is a transparent wall between my heart and the heart of the world,” Chagall said. The floating fish and cattle, flowers and trees, all reflect Chagall’s signature style: abstract, folkloric, whimsical. A green bird’s head caps a largely orange and red urn. A blue goat smiles in a cubist depiction. Multicolored lions represent kingship. Hebrew lettering flows from one section to another, and Chagall’s signature is evident in Latin letters. The windows received international acclaim when first exhibited at the Louvre and are considered by many the crowning achievement of the famous then-74-year-old artist. As the MOMA said in a 1961 press release, the endeavor is composed on a “heroic scale” in what “may be the finest in the revival of stained glass that has occurred in France since World War II.” Marvelous lithographs of these windows, in addition to symbolic art from Bay Area artists, will be at the UNCLE Credit Union Art Gallery for viewers to cherish this spring. 

The UNCLE Credit Union Art Gallery is in the lobby of the beautiful Bankhead Theater at 2400 First Street, Livermore. “Illuminating Symbols in Art: From Chagall to Contemporary Symbolism” is free and open to enjoy by ticketed patrons during performances and by the general public, Thursdays through Sundays, 1 pm5 pm, March 14 through May 19, 2024. There will be an official Opening 

Reception of this treasure of an exhibit next Saturday, March 16, from 1 pm3 pm, featuring a 30-minute Gallery Talk by Professor Bonnie Stipe, who will be speaking on Marc Chagall, Symbolism and leading a discussion for those in attendance at approximately 1:30 pm on March 16th.

The Gallery and accompanying art reception are free and open to the public, with light refreshments available for those in attendance on the 16th. The public is invited to share in this extraordinary exhibit and reception event at The Bankhead, to witness this powerful tribute to love and friendship, and hope and healing, right at the UNCLE Credit Union Art Gallery. 

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Livermore Valley Arts is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit offering wide-ranging programs that provide access to the arts for the Tri-Valley community and beyond. The Bankhead Theater and Bothwell Arts Center are home to nine resident performing arts companies and over 40 studio artists and cultural arts instructors. 

Exhibit: Illuminating Symbols in Art: From Chagall to Contemporary Symbolism Dates/Times: ThursdaysSundays, 1 pm5 pm, March 14May 19, 2024 

Opening Reception: 1 pm3 pm, Saturday, March 16, 2024 

Gallery Talk by Professor Bonnie Stipe: 1:30 pm2 pm 

Tickets: Free and open to the public; light refreshments provided at art reception Dates, times, and ticket prices for other events available at