The cottage in the Catskills Mountains in New York that served as Marc Chagall’s studio from April 1946 to August 1948 has just come onto the market. The real estate company is located at 420 Mohonk Road in High Falls Berkshire Hathaway is asking for $240,000 for the 840-square-foot, two-bedroom property, which features a tiled mudroom, original hardwood floors, and a spacious skylight in the master bedroom.
Chagall was born in 1887 to a Jewish family living near the town of Vitebsk – then part of the Russian Empire, now Belarus. He moved to Paris in 1910 but returned home just before the start of World War I to marry his mistress, Bella Rosenfield, who gave birth to their daughter Ida in 1915. In September 1923, the family fled to Paris to escape the ever-tightening Soviet Union.
By May 1940, anti-Semitism was rampant throughout Vichy France, and so, with the help of the Emergency Rescue Committee, the Chagalls fled to the United States in 1941, eventually settling in New York City.
Bella died of an infection in 1944, and Chagall soon fell into an illness that only his new housekeeper, Virginia Haggard McNeil, could cure. McNeil, 28 years his junior, left her husband and began modeling for Chagall.
McNeil drove to Upstate alone after becoming pregnant with Chagall’s child. “Marc was terribly upset by this inescapable proof of our new love,” McNeil later wrote. When the artist suggested finding a home for her in the area, McNeil came across an expansive lot with two buildings, including the cottage that reminded Chagall of her isbas or traditional dwellings in Vitebsk.
Works created during this productive period in Chagall’s career show a preference for a simpler style than in his earlier artworks. The surrounding gardens of the property inspire The redhead, Green Dreamarum lilies, and Bouquet with flying lovers– all painted here next to it Self-Portrait with Wall Clock and Skinned Ox.
In total, Chagall created 100 paintings, lithographs and sketches in High Falls.
However, his time in High Falls was not all idyllic. This was announced by real estate agent Ellie Perez New York Post that the FBI stopped by regularly to search the premises. In 1948, the US government refused Chagall’s visa because of his leftist politics. The family moved back to France and had sold the property in 1952. McNeil left Chagall for a Belgian photographer that same year.
The current resident, Larry Lynch, has lived in the studio lot since 1970 – and has kept everything original.
“The listing drew all kinds of people,” Perez told Artnet News. “We had [interest from] Artists and people from historical society.”
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