Chaïm Soutine (Belarusian, 1943)

Chaim Soutine (Belarusian/French, 1893–1943) was an Expressionist painter born in Smilovitchi, Belarus. He first studied painting at the Vilna Academy of Fine Arts before relocating to Paris in 1913 to study at the École des Beaux-Arts. During his early years in France, Soutine formed friendships with fellow artists Amedeo Modigliani (Italian, 1884–1920), Marc Chagall (French/Russian, 1887–1985), and Jules Pascin (French, 1885–1930). Spending much of time studying Old Masters in the Louvre, Soutine was heavily influenced by Rembrandt (Dutch, 1606–1669), who inspired his well-known Carcass of Beef series, as well as the 15th-century artist Jean Fouquet (French, b. ca. 1420–d. ca. 1477). After years of living a virtually penniless life Paris during the First World War, Soutine gained worldwide recognition after he was introduced to noted American collector Albert Barnes in 1923, who purchased over 50 of the artist’s works.

In the early 1930s, Soutine was invited to the home of decorator and designer Madeleine Castaing (French, 1894–1992). She, along with her husband, became his patrons, which enabled him to hold his first exhibition in Chicago in 1935. Though he rarely showed his artworks, he did participate in the exhibition The Origins and Development of International Independent Art at the Parisian gallery Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume in 1937.

During World War II, Soutine was forced to leave Paris following the German invasion. He spent the final years of his life in hiding, moving from one place to another, and finally succumbing to a perforated ulcer in 1943. Today, his works are held in the collections of major museums around the world, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, NY; The Museum of Modern Art in New York, NY; The Chicago Art Institute in Chicago, IL; the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; the Musée de l''''Orangerie in Paris, France; and the Kunstmuseum in Lucerne, Switzerland. A major retrospective of his work was held at the Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York City in the spring of 2014.

Literature

Nadine NIESZAWER ”Peintres juifs de l’Ecole de Paris 1905-1939” Editions Denoël Paris 2000