When the U.S. offered a safe harbor for refugees during World War II, Marc Chagall (1887-1985), the renowned Russian-born artist who lived in France, was among the fortunate to escape the Nazis for America. He remained in the U.S. to 1947.
"I lived here in America during the inhuman war in which humanity deserted itself. I have seen the rhythm of life. I have seen America fighting with Allies. The wealth that she has distributed to bring relief to the people who had to suffer the consequences of the war. I like America and the Americans. Above all, I am impressed by the greatness of the country and the freedom that it gives," stated Chagall.
In honor of America's bicenntenial in 1976, and in appreciation of the U.S. giving him refuge during the war, Chagall gifted the Art Institute of Chicago a set of vibrant blue stained glass windows with motifs that honor the richness of the arts in the U.S. Images represent music, painting, literature, theater and dance along with the Chicago skyline and American icons such as the Statue of Liberty.
"They are perhaps the best carrier of Chagall's great sensibility with color," notes a curator's online audio segment on the windows. While the Art Institute of Chicago is temporarily closed, visit the window triptych and learn more on YouTube or view online here.