From Tzivi’s June ’11 Spotlight:
On May 15, Vivian Jacobson (who currently lives in North Carolina) gave a series of talks related to her new book Sharing Chagall. I attended the morning session at Beth Hillel Congregation Bnai Emunah in Wilmette and immediately fell under Jacobson’s spell.
As she tells it, her life changed forever on September 29, 1974, when Marc Chagall came to dedicate his new mosaic on Dearborn (in front of what was then the First National Bank of Chicago). She organized a small reception for him on behalf of local Hadassah members and although their conversation started in French, they quickly discovered a shared knowledge of Yiddish (“I believe this was the moment that our friendship began.”). One year later, Jacobson was the leader of a new organization called “the American Friends of the Chagall Biblical Message Museum,” and from that point until Chagall’s death in 1985, she worked tirelessly with him to raise funds for new works including the Job tapestry commissioned by our Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
Jacobson’s Chagall was not only a great artist, but “a great advertising and marketing executive” who played a conscious role in drawing people to his work. During the Q&A, one gentleman asked why Chagall had created so many stained glass windows for churches. Jacobson’s response: “Chagall was waiting for the Jewish people to come to him after World War II, but that wasn’t a time our money went to art.” For her this helps explain why the commission for the world-famous windows at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem (dedicated in 1962 as part of Hadassah’s Golden Anniversary Celebration) was so personally meaningful for him.