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Chagall Calls His Visit to Moscow “positive for Soviet Jews”

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French painter Marc Chagall today described his recent trip to the Soviet Union as “positive, not only for myself but also for Soviet Jews.” Back in Paris after two weeks in Moscow where he inaugurated the first Soviet exhibition of his works, Chagall told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the exhibition was open to the general public and not just to invited guests, as had been reported.

“Thousands of Muscovites are attending the exhibition” which, he said, will last until the end of the month. He said plans were underway for a second exhibition in the Soviet capital next spring.

The exhibition, held at the Tretyakov Art Gallery, was organized by the Cultural Affairs Ministry and the official Soviet Artists Union. It included 70 of Chagall’s early, non-Biblical works. The trip was Chagall’s first to the Soviet Union in over 50 years. He said he had been received with “the highest of honors,” including a lunch at the Kremlin with members of the Cultural Affairs Ministry.

Chagall said many Soviet Jews waited daily outside his hotel to talk politics, but he said he tried to limit the discussions to art. “I was happy to see so many Jews in posts of responsibility, particularly in the theatre and in the arts,”he said.

The painter said he was leaving Paris shortly for Nice, for the inauguration of the “National Museum of the Marc Chagall Biblical Message,” the first ever built by France for a living painter. Chagall said he would be going to Israel in the fall at the invitation of the Israeli Government.

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