In 1931 Chagall made his first visit to Tel Aviv at the invitation of the city’s founder and mayor, Meir Dizengoff. During his time there he painted landscapes and famous places such as the interiors of the synagogues in Haifa and Jerusalem, while also gaining inspiration for his illustrations for the Bible. In 1951, three years after the founding of the State of Israel, Chagall returned to inaugurate a retrospective of his work; his status by this point as a celebrated artist gained him various commissions including the stained-glass windows for the Hadassah Medical Center and the tapestries for the parliament building in Jerusalem.

Chagall’s relationship with Israel was the subject of a symposium organised by the Museo Thyssen and Fundación Caja Madrid. Led by the Museum’s Artistic Director, Guillermo Solana, it was benefited from the participation of Mirjam Rajner of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Gideon Ofrat, art historian and independent curator, and Meret Meyer, Vice-president of the Comité Chagall and granddaughter of the artist.