We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Editioned work is often a way for an artist to shake his moneymaker, and it was no different for Marc Chagall. Dealer Ambrose Vollard was the driving force behind a series of ’30s etchings illustrating scenes from the Bible and the fables of La Fontaine. A premium was charged for pages that featured the artist’s own hand-coloring, but that wasn’t necessarily money well spent. “Marc Chagall: Rare Illustrated Art Books and Works on Paper” features images marred by the artist’s often surprisingly perfunctory watercoloring and budget-line impressions of the same plates. In virtually every case, Chagall did his best work on the copper, not on the paper. An elephant’s apartment-house-like howdah, for example, is fanciful enough without smudges of paint demarcating its three stories. But the scratchy dusks and dreamlike juxtapositions of scale that characterize Chagall’s black-and-white world remain an obvious model for illustrators such as Edward Koren and Marcia Brown. The show is on view from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (to Jan. 20, 2004; call for additional gallery times) at Marninart Gallery, 406 7th St. NW. Free. (202) 347-3327. (Glenn Dixon)