Today is the birthday of Expressionist artist Chaim Soutine (b 1893 – 1943 Belarus) Soutine who was inspired by classical painting in the European tradition and he favoured colour, texture and shape over representation. His work acted as a bridge between traditional approach and the evolvment of Abstract Expressionism.
Soutine was born near Minsk (when it was part of the Russian empire) and one of eleven children, Soutine studied at the Vilna Academy of Fine Arts in Vilnius between 1910 – 1913 He emigrated to Paris with fellow artist Pinchus Kremegne (1890 – 1981) and Michel Kikoine 1892 – 1968) where he studied under Fernand Cormon at the Errcole des Beaux-Arts.
He became friends with Amedeo Modigliani (1884–1920) and he painted Soutine’s portrait several times when they were all struggling artists in Montparnasse. Modigliani’s most famous portrait of Soutine was painted on an apartment door belonging to Leopold Zborowski (1889 – 1932) their art dealer. Zborowski was later to take the artist to Nice to escape Paris when it was being bombed in WWI.
After struggle and poverty, often helped by his friends and fellow artists, Soutine finally managed to sell 100 paintings to American collector Albert C. Barnes who established his Foundation Museum in Merion, USA in 1922.. With the proceeds, the artist now began to enjoy a better life and dividing his time between Paris , the Pyrenees and the Riviera.
Although a passionate artist, Soutine left few works. He suffered from anxiety and tempers and destroyed a lot of his paintings. There are a few stories about this artist which give us a sketch of his personality and the effect it had upon his work. One of them concerns one of his most iconic set of images series Le Boeuf Ecorche’ .
His neighbours complained about the stench of the animal carcass which he kept in his studio and called the police. But Soutine remained unrepentant, advocating art over hygiene. He painted 10 of the carcass paintings, inspired by Rembrandt’s Carcass of Beef (1655) sometimes known as The Flayed Ox after studying the Old Master’s in the Louvre, Paris. One of the paintings in Soutine’s series Le Boeuf Ecorche’(1924) sold for £7.8 million in 2006.
His work is characterised by its frantic brushwork, often violent colour and distorted images which covey emotion and he liked to paint bell boys, waiters and hotel workers – ordinary everyday people. In 1937 Soutine was hailed as a great painter, even though he did not take part in an important exhibition The Origins and Development of International Independent Art which was held at the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume. Very soon after that, the France was invaded by the Germans and Soutine, as a Jew had to flee Paris to avoid arrest by the Gestapo. He lived as best he could and eventually left a safe shelter to return to Paris for an operation for a bleeding stomach ulcer. The operation was not a success and he died of a perforated ulcer on August 9, 1943 . Soutine was interred in Cimetière du Montparnasse, Paris.
Video by bestjonbon with thanks!
Also thanks to;-
Lots of information about this artist here
Modiglini portrait of Soutine from here
Man with Ribbons and Little Pastry Cook images from here
Bacon triptych image from here
Landschaft mit Häusern, 1918 and Portait of a Nurse, c. 1916 Little Girl with Doll, 1919 all from this blogspot
Good images from Oscar Grillo Oscartoons and here
There’s a big birthday party going on over at my sister site Bookstains – and you’re invited!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROBERT BURNS (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796) Here’s a video I made of Scottish artists;-
7 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Chaim Soutine!”
I would have identified the third pic from the top as a Van Gogh.
Yes I think he has got a touch of Van Gogh in his brushwork Carl – a bit wild and unselfconscious 🙂
Oh! I like this work. I think the distortion only adds to the feeling of the human condition and the brushstrokes, even though rendered from an anxiety ridden soul, are so interesting to view, Lynda. Another great post on an artist I had not run across. You feed my vision. The other thing that interested me is that the paintings of people appear as though their bodies were added as an afterthought and the head painted as a separate composition and pasted there. Intrigueing!
I think you’re right about the bodies Leslie, I hadn’t noticed that before. His work certainly conveys emotion and energy with the distortion – I get the feeling that the people he paints aren’t very happy in their uniforms/skin they look almost like they’re squirming and uncomfortable. Glad you enjoyed this one Leslie! Soutine is an interesting artist.
Another fascinating post, Lynda.
His style appears one which would be highly praised now, his representations of humans seems very ‘modern’ so I guess he must have been seen as ahead of his time.
They’re the sort of paintings I like to see at an exhibition but wouldn’t want to see them on my own wall!
I particularly like the pastry chef one.
Yes very contemporary Wendy, and full of energy. I’d love one on my wall though (the little pastry chef is my favorite too 🙂 ) he looks quite a little er … character!