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Dining a la Chagall

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In 1952 Marc Chagall (1887-1985) hand-painted a complete dinner service as a wedding gift for his only daughter, Ida. Working on simple white china plates, bowls, and platters, Chagall appears to have followed his own dictum, "My art is an extravagant art, a flaming vermilion, a blue soul flooding over my paintings," and used only those two colors. He deftly sketched vignettes expressing themes familiar from his major works: connubial and maternal love; the bond between humans and animals; the joy of music and dance; and the magic of the circus. The charming images of amorous couples, festive tables, dancing figures, and farmyard animals inhabit a benevolent fantasy world that is unmistakably Chagallian too. Man and beast not only float weightlessly in space but also meld to form fabulous hybrid creatures—a fish-woman, a rooster-child, and a donkey-man. Now, a half-century after Chagall created this bewitching tableware, Bernardaud, the French porcelain company, has reproduced the entire For Ida service by hand in a limited edition of 250 sets. It's wedded bliss served on a plate.

For Ida, a 69-piece 12-person dinner service, reproduced by Bernardaud in a limited edition of 250 sets, is $17,000 and available exclusively through Neiman Marcus. For information, call 888-888-4757.

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