oil on canvas
33 x 24 cm (13 x 9 1/2 in.)
with signature stamp lower right
Marc Chagall was from Liosno, the Jewish Shtetl of Vitebsk, a town in White Russia (today Belarus). His father Sachar toiled in a herring depot all his life, his mother Feige-Ita had a small shop. Chagall, who had been back in Russia since 1914, left Vitebsk and Russia again in 1922 and never returned. However, he always felt a bond with his origin and his hometown of Vitebsk. During his exile in the United States between 1941 and 1948 he published an open letter "To my town Vitebsk", in which he wrote "…I did not live with you, but I did not have one single painting that did not breathe with your spirit and reflection." Until his death, motifs from the Shtetl appeared in his pictures. In "L'homme au parapluie" he has painted his parents' house, with a sign above the door reading "Shop", which can be seen in several other works. It was his mother's shop. In an old photograph one can see the original frame house with the steps, as in the painting. The present painting was created in the 1930s, when Chagall had not seen his hometown for ten years. Vitebsk, as he knew it, was almost completely destroyed in the war, but it remained alive in Chagall's pictures and in his heart until his death.