Chaim Soutine (with signature)
|Born||13 January 1893
Smilavichy, Russian Empire
|Died||9 August 1943 (aged 50)
|Nationality||Belarusian later French|
|Training||Vilna Academy of Fine Arts, École des Beaux-Arts, Fernand Cormon|
|Patrons||Albert C. Barnes, Leopold Zborowski|
Chaïm Soutine (January 13, 1893 – August 9, 1943) was a French painter of Belarusian Jewish origin. Soutine made a major contribution to the expressionist movement while living in Paris.
Inspired by classic painting in the European tradition, exemplified by the works of Rembrandt, Chardin and Courbet, Soutine developed an individual style more concerned with shape, color, and texture over representation, which served as a bridge between more traditional approaches and the developing form of Abstract Expressionism.
Soutine was born Chaim Sutin, in Smilavichy near Minsk, (modern day) Belarus (then part of the Russian Empire). He was the tenth of eleven children. From 1910–1913 he studied in Vilnius at the Vilna Academy of Fine Arts. In 1913, with his friends Pinchus Kremegne (1890–1981) and Michel Kikoine (1892–1968), he emigrated to Paris, where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts under Fernand Cormon. He soon developed a highly personal vision and painting technique.
For a time, he and his friends lived at La Ruche, a residence for struggling artists in Montparnasse where he became friends with Amedeo Modigliani (1884–1920). Modigliani painted Soutine's portrait several times, most famously in 1917, on a door of an apartment belonging to Léopold Zborowski (1889–1932), who was their art dealer. Zborowski supported Soutine through World War I, taking the struggling artist with him to Nice to escape the German bombing of Paris.
After the war Paul Guillaume, a highly influential art dealer, began to champion Soutine's work. In 1923, in a showing arranged by Guillaume, the prominent American collector Albert C. Barnes (1872–1951), bought 60 of Soutine's paintings on the spot. Soutine, who had been virtually penniless in his years in Paris, immediately took the money, ran into the street, hailed a Paris taxi, and ordered the driver to take him to Nice, on the French Riviera, more than 400 miles away.
Soutine once horrified his neighbours by keeping an animal carcass in his studio so that he could paint it (Carcass of Beef). The stench drove them to send for the police, whom Soutine promptly lectured on the relative importance of art over hygiene. There's a story that Marc Chagall saw the blood from the carcass leak out onto the corridor outside Soutine's room, and rushed out screaming, 'Someone has killed Soutine.' Soutine painted 10 works in this series, which have since become his most well-known. His carcass paintings were inspired by Rembrandt's still life of the same subject, which he discovered while studying the Old Masters in the Louvre. In February 2006, the oil painting from this series called 'Le Boeuf Écorché' (1924) sold for a record £7.8 million ($13.8 million) to an anonymous buyer at a Christie's auction held in London - after it was estimated to fetch £4.8 million.
Soutine produced the majority of his works from 1920 to 1929. From 1930 to 1935, the interior designer Madeleine Castaing and her husband welcomed him to their summer home, the mansion of Lèves, becoming his patrons, so that Soutine could hold his first exhibition in Chicago in 1935. He seldom showed his works, but he did take part in the important exhibition The Origins and Development of International Independent Art held at the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume in 1937 in Paris, where he was at last hailed as a great painter. Soon thereafter France was invaded by German troops. As a Jew, Soutine had to escape from the French capital and hide in order to avoid arrest by the Gestapo. He moved from one place to another and was sometimes forced to seek shelter in forests, sleeping outdoors. Suffering from a stomach ulcer and bleeding badly, he left a safe hiding place for Paris in order to undergo emergency surgery, which failed to save his life. On August 9, 1943, Chaim Soutine died of a perforated ulcer. He was interred in Cimetière du Montparnasse, Paris.
In February 2006, an oil painting of his controversial and iconic series Le Boeuf Ecorche (1924) sold for a record £7.8 million ($13.8 million) to an anonymous buyer at a Christie's auction held in London - after it was estimated to fetch £4.8 million. In February 2007, a 1921 portrait of an unidentified man with a red scarf (L'Homme au Foulard Rouge) by Chaim Soutine sold for $17.2 million - a new record - at Sotheby's London auction house.
Paintings of Soutine by Modigliani
Paintings by Soutine, with gallery listings
- Piece of Beef / Piece de Boeuf - (c.1923)
- Ceret Landscape - (c.1919)
- Seated Woman - (c.1923-24), Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
- Street of Cagnes-sur-Mer - (c.1923-1924)
- Carcass of Beef - (c.1925), Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York
- Sinister Street - (c.1921), Kunstmuseum, Lucerne, Switzerland
- Winding Road - (c.1939)
- Large Poplars at Civery or After the Storm - (c.1939)
- Philadelphia Museum of Art : Portrait of Moïse Kisling -
- Los Angeles County Museum of Art : the Russian, portrait of woman -
- Yale University Art Gallery : Landscape and house -
- Musée Calvet, Avignon : Paysage du Midi (Vence) -
- Museum of Modern Art, New York : Le Vieux Moulin sur Vence - dead bird - Chartres cathedral -
- Musée de Grenoble, France : Bœuf écorché -
- Cleveland Museum of Art : Still Life with Rayfish -
- Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris : Femme à la robe bleue - Torse de femme au fond bleue - Le Chasseur de chez Maxim's - Les Porcs -
- National Gallery of Art, Washington : the groom
- Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York) : Portrait of Madeleine Castaing -
- Chicago Art Institute : Tree in Vence -
- Worcester Art Museum : Portrait of a boy -
- Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris : Glaïeuls - Les maisons - Paysage - La fiancée - Arbre couché - Portrait d'homme (Emile Lejeune) - Le village - Le petit pâtissier - Bœuf et tête de veau - Le poulet plumé - Le lapin - Le dindon - Dindon et tomates - La table - Nature morte au faisan - La jeune Anglaise - Enfant de chœur - Le garçon d'étage - Garçon d'honneur - Paysage avec personnage - Le gros arbre bleu - La maison blanche
- Pinacothèque de Paris; Le garçon d'étage
- Kleeblatt, Norman L.; Kenneth E. Silver (1998). An Expressionist in Paris: The Paintings of Chaim Soutine. New York City: Prestel. ISBN 3-7913-1932-9.
- Mullin, Rick (2012). Soutine: A Poem. Loveland, Ohio: Dos Madres Press. ISBN 978-1-933675-68-8.
- Tuchman, Maurice; Esti Dunow (1993) Chaim Soutine (1893-1943): catalogue raisonné. Köln: Benedikt Taschen Verlag.