Millon & Associés /Jun 19, 2012
€633,964.66 - €950,946.98
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Alessandro Magnasco Il Lissandro, Francesco Paolo Michetti, School Florentine, Pier Francesco Mola, Roberto Gaetano Crippa, Caspar Netscher, Mario Schifano, Renato Guttuso, Umberto Boccioni, Fernandez Arman , Antonio Possenti
Artworks in Arcadja185
Some works of Chaïm SoutineExtracted between 185 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Auction: Christie's -May 8, 2013 - New YorkLot number: 21
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Chaim Soutine (1893-1943) Le petit pâtissier signed 'Soutine' (lower right) oil on canvas 30 1/8 x 27 1/8 in. (76.5 x 68.9 cm.) Painted circa 1927 Marcellin and Madeleine Castaing, Paris (by 1929). Carroll Carstairs Gallery, New York (by 1940). Lee A. Ault, New York (by 1941). Frank Perls, Los Angeles. Mr. and Mrs. Sidney F. Brody, Beverly Hills (by 1956); sale, Sotheby's, New York, 19 October 1977, lot 13. The Lefevre Gallery (Alex. Reid & Lefevre, Ltd.), London (acquired at the above sale). Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1977. PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION E. Faure, Soutine, Paris, 1929, no. 28 (illustrated). M. Sachs, "Soutine" in Creative Art, November 1932, p. 272 (illustrated). "New York Sees Soutine" in Art Digest, 15 April 1940, p. 9. J. Lowe, Art News, 20 April 1940, p. 11. E. McCausland, Parnassus, May 1940, p. 40. M. Breuning, Art Digest, 15 November 1950, p. 11 (illustrated). E. Szittya, Soutine et son temps, Paris, 1955, p. 75. "Garde, Mlle." in L'Oeil, January 1956, p. 30 (illustrated). J.-A. Cartier, Jardin des Arts, no. 18, April 1956, p. 333 (illustrated; dated 1928). M. Castaing and J. Leymarie, Soutine, New York, 1964 (illustrated, pl. XI). Collection Jean Walter--Paul Guillaume, exh. cat., Orangerie des Tuileries, Paris, 1966, p. 271 (dated 1928). R.L. Herbert, ed., "Soutine" in Encyclopedia of World Art, vol. 13, New York, 1967, p. 179. H.J. Seldis, Los Angeles Times, 3 March 1968, p. 42. M.S. Young, Apollo, May 1968, p. 390 (illustrated). P. Courthion, Soutine: peintre du déchirant, Lausanne, 1972, p. 255, no. I (illustrated; titled Le pâtissier aux mains sur les hanches and dated 1926-1927; incorrectly listed as signed lower left). A. Werner, Chaim Soutine, New York, 1977, p. 128, no. 32 (illustrated in color, p. 129). M. Hoog, Catalogue de la collection Jean Walter et Paul Guillaume, exh. cat., Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris, 1984, p. 266. A. Werner, Chaim Soutine, London, 1991, p. 98, no. 26 (illustrated in color, p. 99; illustrated again in color on the front and back covers). M. Tuchman, E. Dunow and K. Perls, Chaim Soutine: Catalogue Raisonné, Cologne, 1993, vol. II, p. 654, no. 95 (illustrated in color, p. 655). M. Tuchman and E. Dunow, Chaim Soutine: The Passion of Painting, exh. cat., Galerie Thomas, Munich, 2009, p. 105 (illustrated in color). The Arts Club of Chicago, Paintings by Haïm Soutine, December 1935, no. 2 (illustrated on the cover). New York, Carroll Carstairs Gallery, Paintings by Soutine, April-May 1940, no. 2. Cincinnati Modern Art Society, Expressionism: An Exhibition of Modern Paintings from Many Countries to Commemorate the 400th Anniversary of El Greco, April-May 1941, p. 15 (dated 1937). New York, Pierre Matisse Gallery, Figures Pieces in Modern Painting, January-February 1942, no. 11. Washington, D.C., Phillips Memorial Gallery, Six Loan Exhibitions, January-February 1943, no. 21 (titled Little Baker Boy). New York, Valentine Gallery, The Lee Ault Collection: Modern Paintings, April 1944, no. 54 (illustrated; dated 1925). Boston, Institute of Modern Art, Chagall and Soutine, January-February 1945, no. 34. New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Paintings from New York Private Collections, summer 1946, p. 4 (dated 1925). New York, The Museum of Modern Art and The Cleveland Museum of Art, Soutine, October 1950-March 1951, pp. 20, 73 and 113 (illustrated in color, p. 21; illustrated again in color on the cover). The Arts Club of Chicago, Chaim Soutine: Paintings, October 1956, no. 54. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Chaim Soutine, February-April 1968, p. 53, no. 49 (illustrated, p. 105). Jerusalem, Israel Museum, Soutine, summer 1968, no. 34 (illustrated). New York, The Jewish Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Cincinnati Art Museum, An Expressionist in Paris: The Paintings of Chaim Soutine, April 1998-May 1999, p. 197, no. 48 (illustrated in color, p. 180, pl. 20). The present painting is the culminating image in a sequence of six portraits of young pastry chefs that represents one of the best-known and most compelling achievements of Soutine's career. Soutine painted the first of the pastry chefs shortly after his arrival at Céret in 1919, when he was still a largely unknown painter, desperately poor and fraught with anxiety. By the time he painted the present canvas around 1927, bringing this seminal series to fruition, he had achieved nothing short of international fame. What had happened in the interim to change Soutine's fortunes so dramatically was the discovery of the artist by the wealthy and eccentric Dr. Albert C. Barnes; a now-legendary story in which the little pastry chef plays a starring role. The dealer Paul Guillaume published the details of the episode in Arts à Paris in January 1923, announcing the arrival of a great new artist on the Paris scene: "One day I had gone to a painter's studio to see a Modigliani, and I noticed in the corner a work that interested me right away. It was a Soutine, a picture of a pastry cook--an extraordinary, fascinating, real, and truculent pastry cook, afflicted with an immense and magnificent ear, surprising and just right: a masterpiece. I bought it. Dr. Barnes saw it at my place. 'It's a peach!' he cried. The spontaneous pleasure he derived from this canvas changed Soutine's fortune all at once, transforming him overnight into a recognized painter, sought after by patrons, no longer the object of condescension--a hero in Montparnasse" (quoted in Great French Paintings from the Barnes Foundation, New York, 1995, p. 216). The six pastry chef portraits were painted over a period of nearly a decade: the first two (including the one that Barnes purchased) at Céret between 1919 and 1921, another three at Cagnes in 1923-1925, and the present canvas around 1927, after Soutine's return to Paris (Tuchman, Dunow, and Perls, nos. 27, 50, 61-62, 75; figs. 1-4 and Portland Art Museum, Oregon). They represent six different anonymous sitters, each with his own distinctive physiognomy and demeanor. In the Barnes portrait, for example, the young chef has a slightly surly air, his lips pursed as he sizes up the viewer; at the same time, his over-sized ears and ill-fitting jacket lend a note of pathos to the portrayal (fig. 1). Le pâtissier de Cagnes, by contrast, is unerringly sympathetic, the sitter's ruddy, pointed face hauntingly sad and searching, the weight of his hat almost too much for his fragile frame (fig. 2). Painted around the same time, the portrait in the Orangerie shows a more mature chef, a man now rather than a boy, his half-open mouth, dislocated nose, bushy brows, and assertive posture giving him a subtly brutish quality (fig. 3). In the present painting, finally, Soutine gives us a figure of the utmost melancholy. The youngest-looking of all the pastry chefs, he has a face that verges on prettiness in spite of the blunt handling: the lips are full, the cheeks flushed, and the contours smooth. He adopts a posture of mock confidence, his ruddy hands planted on his narrow hips, one bony shoulder raised in a slight shrug; his mouth turned down, brooding and petulant. His eyes, however, are beseeching, and he turns his head almost imperceptibly away from the viewer, reluctant to meet another's gaze. Monroe Wheeler has written about this group of paintings, "These are speaking likenesses of more or less humble persons whom Soutine invested with the poise of royalty, or of those who think themselves royal. Who can tell what he thought of them? Surely he was enthralled by their idiosyncrasy. He selects the salient features of these persons, their intensive gaze, outstanding ears, huge interworking hands, and renders them to excess with only summary indication of the body, which he then cloaks in the magnificences of the palette. They are unforgettable" (exh. cat., op. cit., 1950, p. 65). What unifies the various portraits in the sequence is the chef's whites (jacket, pants, and apron) that all six sitters wear. In the two paintings from Céret, the white uniform is vigorously streaked with vibrant color, integrating it into the active, brightly hued background (fig. 1; Tuchman, Dunow, and Perls, no. 50). As the sequence progresses, these color accents become more subtle--thin veins of red, blue, green, and gold that run through the luminous white--and the surrounding interior becomes darker and more minimal in turn. This process culminates in the present canvas, where the large, self-contained white field of the young chef's costume dominates the composition, standing out as though spotlit against the austere, inky ground. "This is a masterpiece in the field of investigation of colored matter," Michel Hoog has written (op. cit., p. 266), while Maurice Tuchman and Esti Dunow proclaim, "The pastry cook paintings demonstrate Soutine's virtuoso ability to extract amazing color from his whites" (op. cit., 1993, p. 511). At Cagnes, Soutine explored this same process of color concentration in his portraits of anonymous female sitters, painting them in bright red dresses or white bridal finery, working his way from one dominant hue to the next (fig. 5; compare as well Christie's, New York, 4 May 2010, lot 68). By the time he returned to Paris in 1925, the single-color palette had become one of Soutine's hallmarks, allowing him to indulge his prodigious gifts as a colorist without restraint. The pastry chef paintings also represent Soutine's earliest explorations of the figure in uniform, a theme that would come to preoccupy him from 1925 to 1929. Back in Paris after his years in Cagnes, he finally enjoyed the means to frequent the same restaurants, hotels, and nightclubs as the most fashionable Parisians. But rather than depicting the elite clientele of these establishments, reveling in the nightlife of the roaring twenties, Soutine--who himself had known the bitter taste of poverty for far too long--opted to immortalize the humble employees who served them: valets, bell-hops, waiters, and the present pastry chef, all clad in their characteristic uniforms. "What a boon for Soutine that the servant class in France should have kept so many archaic styles of garment, fancy dress without frivolity," Wheeler has written (exh. cat., op. cit., p. 73). The appeal of these uniforms was not limited to the possibilities that they opened up for color concentration, providing ready-made surfaces of a single hue, most often white, red, or dark blue (figs. 6-7; see also the choir-boy portraits from the same period: fig. 8). The uniform also had the effect of de-individualizing the sitter, categorizing him in terms of his occupation and social status. The challenge for Soutine, therefore, was to capture the individual behind the type; the fact that the sitters are cloaked in these anonymous and collective costumes only underscores their individuality by contrast. Tuchman and Dunow have explained: "While Soutine's portraits do convey inner realities and make spiritual statements, they are primarily rooted in concrete perception. Though Soutine may project his inner turbulence and most personal feelings onto his subjects, the viewer never loses sight of a particular physical entity being carefully observed and experienced. Even the distortions and exaggerations of facial features and the shiftings and dislocations of body parts do not destroy the essential recognition in each painting of a certain person and a reality specific to him or her" (op. cit., 1993, p. 509). The anonymity of Soutine's uniformed sitters also served an essential function for the artist, affording him some degree of objectivity and emotional distance. Due to the intensity of the relationship that the artist felt in the presence of his portrait subjects, he rarely painted his friends, or indeed himself, opting instead for models whom he did not know. With his friends, the sensations were simply too great, the image too distorted. Moreover, Soutine repeatedly (if not obsessively) employed a very narrow range of compositional schemes for his portraits, giving his sitters an intentionally "posed" look that demonstrates his resistance to a complete union between artist and model. With few exceptions, he depicted single figures, seated or less often standing, either half- or three-quarter-length. Their poses are self-contained, their hands usually resting in the lap or placed on the hips, and they face forwards, commanding the viewer's attention but seemingly unmoved by the presence of the artist. Tuchman and Dunow have written, "With the live model staring back at him throughout the painting session, Soutine may have felt it necessary to defuse their scrutiny of him, or what he felt to be such, by painting them as indifferent to him. It is the tension between their seeming detachment, on the one hand, and an awareness of Soutine's personal involvement with them, on the other, that heightens the expressive charge of these figures" (ibid., p. 510). Complicating this tension still further is the intentional obliteration in many of Soutine's portraits of any physical distance between sitter and artist, sitter and viewer. The earlier pastry chefs are shown seated in an armchair within a broadly brushed, indistinct interior, generating an impression of pictorial space, however shallow. The present pâtissier, by contrast, stands against a bare backdrop, pressing against the surface of the picture, invading our own space. Centered within the pictorial field, he occupies nearly the full width of the canvas from edge to edge, the bright white of his uniform seeming to burst forth from the steely, gray ground. Andrew Forge has written, "There is a terrible poignancy in Soutine's closeness to the things he paints. He seems to cling to them, to bury himself in them. Everything that he paints is like a close-up, not only because he eliminates the space that separates him from the object but because of the extreme plasticity of the image that he makes of it" (Soutine, London, 1965, pp. 30-31). The unrestrained painterliness of Soutine's work only intensifies this sense of proximity. He applied pigment in feverish, expressionistic strokes that give his paintings a powerfully tactile quality. Tuchman and Dunow have explained, "His canvases rivet the viewer with their convincing physical presence and their kinetically charged substance, which embody the fervid inner need that compelled the artist to paint them. Soutine's intense observation of the visual world, and his impassioned identification with it, all set in motion by peculiar intensity and obsessiveness, enabled him to attain a state of expressionistic exaltation that was exceptional and unprecedented in his day" (exh. cat., op. cit., 2009, p. 9). During the same years that Soutine focused on painting portraits of figures in uniform, he was also captivated by dead animals (fish, fowl, rabbits, and great beef carcasses) as a subject for still-life, and there are illuminating parallels between the two groups of paintings. In both, the subject is presented to the viewer for scrutiny, isolated and centralized; the broad passages of white and red, inflected with a rich variety of tones and accents, recur as well in both the portraits and the still-lifes, producing a powerful identification between flesh and pigment. Tuchman and Dunow have concluded, "The stroking, texturing, and streaking with other colors and lights and darks gives Soutine's reds, whites, and blues a certain organic quality suggestive of body tissue, veins, and arteries. The uniform merely continues over the surface from where hands and neck leave off and so acts as an extension or analogy to the flesh. Furthermore, both flesh and the uniform are transformed into surface membranes of pigment. As the freshly killed animals reveal their inner organs and meat, so the 'flesh' of the figures acts as an index of the raw nerves and rumblings beneath the skin. Even the searching quality of Soutine's contours accents this autopsy. The way the figures spread over the surface to meet the frame opens them up for inspection. The figures, the meat, the birds are made vulnerable and victims of our visual penetration" (op. cit., 1993, p. 512). Not long after he painted the present canvas, the style and subject of Soutine's portraits changed considerably. In the late 1920s and 1930s, his palette dimmed noticeably, the nervous heat of his color finally cooling down. Around the same time, his figures began to look increasingly sad and resigned. Their eyes are now veiled or downcast, their faces and gestures quieter and more withdrawn; a sense of timidity and passiveness replaces the animation and anguish that had characterized Soutine's earlier subjects. By the mid-1930s, the uniformed figures of restaurants, nightclubs, and hotels had ceded pride of place in Soutine's iconographic repertoire to domestic servants in bourgeois homes (maids, cleaning girls, house cooks, etc.). Their garments are no longer the pure colors of figures on public display but rather the less assertive shades of simple household clothing, and their representation is devoid of the vibrant, almost manic intensity typical of the best portraits that Soutine painted during the 1920s. The first owners of the present painting were Marcellin and Madeleine Castaing, Soutine's principal patrons and protectors from the late 1920s until his death (fig. 9). Pillars of the artistic community of Montparnasse and close friends of Picasso, Derain, Léger, and Blaise Cendrars, among others, the Castaings first encountered Soutine in the early 1920s, when he was still desperately poor. On the lookout for new and undiscovered talent, and hoping to help a struggling painter as well, they offered him a hundred francs at a café in Montparnasse as an advance on a painting that they would choose from his studio. He angrily refused the money, offended that they would propose buying a painting that they had never even seen. After that, the Castaings saw nothing of Soutine until 1927, when they encountered him again at his first solo exhibition at Henri Bing's gallery. This second (and much more congenial) meeting marked the start of an enduring friendship, which represents an important chapter in the biography of both Soutine and the Castaings. It was also at this time that the couple began to buy Soutine's work in quantity, eventually building a collection of more than forty of his paintings, including three probing portraits of Madeleine Castaing herself (Tuchman, Dunow, and Perls, nos. 136-138; fig. 10). Passionate admirers of the artist's oeuvre, the Castaings opened their château near Chartres to Soutine each summer from 1930 to 1935, devoting themselves single-mindedly to supporting him in his work. They searched high and low for old canvases for him to use, helped to convince the local inhabitants to pose, and on occasion restrained him from destroying paintings that had attracted his ire. Billy Klüver and Julie Martin have written, "Soutine was not an easy guest, moody, solitary, demanding, subject to fits of anger, plagued by weeks of being unable to paint, then total absorption in his work. But their commitment to the painter was total" (exh. cat., op. cit., 1998, p. 108). Late in her life, Madeleine Castaing left a moving recollection of her life-changing relationship with Soutine: "Fate and the gift of intuition enabled me to get to know a great artist: Soutine. An inspired painter, part of a great tradition, he looked instinctively for the inner truth and laid bare the hidden secrets of his model, the essential reality of things... We believed in his genius, he knew that, and our opinion mattered to him and often gave him strength. There were problems of course, but this wonderful adventure has left me with an incomparable sense of pride and emotion. I could go on talking about Soutine forever" ("Memories of Soutine," in Soutine, exh. cat., Galleri Bellman, New York, 1983, p. 6). Soutine (with Paulette Jourdain and the dog Riquette), 1926. (fig. 1) Chaim Soutine, Le Pâtissier, circa 1919. Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia. (fig. 2) Chaim Soutine, Le pâtissier de Cagnes, circa 1922-1923. Sold, Christie's, London, 7 February 2005, lot 30. (fig. 3) Chaim Soutine, Le pâtissier au mouchoir rouge, circa 1922-1923. Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris. (fig. 4) Chaim Soutine, Le cuisinier de Cagnes, circa 1924. Kunstmuseum Bern. (fig. 5) Chaim Soutine, La Fiancée, circa 1923. Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris. (fig. 6) Chaim Soutine, Le Groom, circa 1925. Musée national d'art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. (fig. 7) Chaim Soutine, Le Maître d'hôtel, circa 1927. Sold, Christie's, London, 1 July 1998, lot 7. (fig. 8) Chaim Soutine, L'Enfant de chur, circa 1927-1928. Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris. (fig. 9) Soutine and Madeleine Castaing, mid-1930s. (fig. 10) Chaim Soutine, Portrait de Madeleine Castaing, circa 1929. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Auction: Christie's -Nov 8, 2012 - New YorkLot number: 439
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Chaim Soutine (1893-1943) Vieille maison aux environs de Chartres signed 'C. Soutine' (lower right) oil on canvas 18½ x 24 5/8 in. (47 x 62.5 cm.) Painted circa 1934 Justin K. Thannhauser, New York (circa 1948). Mr. and Mrs. David Finkle, New York (circa 1950). Private collection (by descent from the above); sale, Christie's, New York, 11 May 1989, lot 352. Philippe Reichenbach, Geneva (acquired at the above sale). PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION G. Talphir, "Chaim Soutine," Gazith, Art and Literary Journal, vol. 17, no. 195-196, August-September 1959 (illustrated, pl. 6). M. Tuchman, Chaim Soutine, exh. cat., The Tate Gallery, London, 1963, p. 25. P. Courthion, Soutine, Peintre du Déchirant, Lausanne, 1972, p. 279 (illustrated, fig. A). E. Dunow, Chaïm Soutine, Evolution in Form and Expression, exh. cat., Gallery Bellman, New York, 1983, p. 8. M. Tuchman, E. Dunow and K. Perls, Chaïm Soutine, Catalogue raisonné, Cologne, 1993, vol. I, p. 292, no. 156 (illustrated in color). Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Cent tableaux de Soutine, 1959, no. 24 (illustrated; titled Vieille maison à la campagne and dated circa 1920). Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Jerusalem, The Israel Museum, Chaïm Soutine, February-August 1968, p. 54, no. 82 and no. 43, respectively (illustrated, p. 138; titled The Old House). New York, Marlborough Gallery, Chaïm Soutine, October-November 1973, p. 79, no. 63 (illustrated; titled The Old House). Soutine painted Vieille maison aux environs de Chartres during a period of a renewed and vigorous interest in landscape painting. For fourteen years he had focused almost exclusively on still life and portraiture but found himself turning his attention back to landscape as a result of spending his summers in the countryside near Chartres from 1931 to 1935. During this time, Soutine was living and working at the country house of his patrons, Madeleine and Marcellin Castaing, pillars of the artistic community of Montparnasse who became intimate friends of many important avant-garde artists including Andreé Derain, Fernand Léger and Pablo Picasso. The Castaings had met Soutine in 1927 at the time of his first exhibition and, having admired his work, offered him protection and support after the death of his dealer in 1932. The stability and calm offered to Soutine at their home prompted the creation of more structured and solid compositions, a significant move away from his earlier landscapes painted at Céret, which were characterized by swirling, tempestuous compositions. Vieille maison aux environs de Chartres is nevertheless animated by the energy of Soutine's brushwork and vibrant palette, and though classified as a work from the artist's "calmer" period, still exudes a sense of vitality and excitement. At this period in the early 1930s, Soutine now relied on depictions of single objects and their relationships to their surroundings, a demonstration of the process of simplification which his style had undergone since his early Céret works. "In some ways, Soutine travels full circle in these landscapes, reinvesting the energies that had animated the Céret pictures into an image that is now anchored with a more structured and 'traditional' armature. The energy is no longer equated with chaos and anarchy and compression but is directed and contained by readable forms in a definable space. There is the same rhythm that animates forms, the same dynamism permeating the whole, but the growing stress on clarity and recognizability, developing throughout his landscape oeuvre, now effects a reorganization and rechanneling of these sensations. Before, the paint and brushstroke abstractly generated metaphors of wind, atmosphere and storm; now Soutine is painting the wind actually hitting and passing through the tree" (ibid., p. 99). The theme of the country home fascinated Soutine and has been explored in many of his paintings--"the specificity and repeated painting of the motif indicate its importance for Soutine. The country homes, painted at or around the estate of his patrons, were symbols of a way of life, culture, and status to which [Soutine] aspired. His acceptance by the Castaings represented a larger acceptance and favor by the French upper class. Such approval was no small matter to Soutine" (ibid., p. 98).
Auction: Matsa -Jun 19, 2012 - JerusalemLot number: 13
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** Chaïm Soutine 1893-1943 (Russian) Maison de Clamart, 1918 -1919 oil on canvas h:60 w:73 cm. signed lower right Provenance: Collection Galerie Mouradian- Vallotton, Paris Private collection , Aix- en Provence, France Sold 6 April 1954, Galerie Charpentier, Paris. Private collection, France Sale: Sotheby's Paris, 8 December, 2010, Lot 34 Private collection, Switzerland Literature: Courthion,'Soutine' peintre du dechirant, 1972 p.187 plate D (illustrated) exhibited: Biennale di Venezia, Venise, 1952 (n. 21, titled 'Paysage de Cagnes'.) Estimate $ 800,000-1,200,000
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CHAÏM SOUTINE 1893-1943 (Russian) Maison de Clamart, 1918-1919. Huile sur toile 60 x 73 cm (23 x 28 in.). Signé en bas à droite Provenance: Collection galerie Mouradian-Vallotton, Paris Collection privéen Aix-en-Provence, France Vendu 6 avril 1954, Galerie Charpentier, Paris Collection privée, France Vente: Sotheby's Pars, 8 décembre 2010, lot,34 Collection privée, Suisse Bibliographie: Pierre Courthion, "soutine" peintre du déchirant, 1972 p. 187 (illustré) Exposition: Biennale di Venezia, Venise, 1952 (n°21, titré "paysages de Cacnes" Maison de Clamart, 1918-19 oil on canvas 60 x 73 cm (23 x 28 in.) signed lower right PROVENANCE: Collection Galerie Mouradian- Vallotton, Paris Private collection, Aix- en Provence, France Sold 6 April 1954, Galerie Charpentier, Paris. Private collection, France Sale: Sotheby's Paris, 8 December, 2010, Lot 34 Private collection, Switzerland LITERATURE: Pierre Courthion,?Soutine' peintre du dechirant, 1972 p.187 plate D (illustrated) EXHIBITED: Biennale di Venezia, Venise, 1952 (n. 21, titled ?Paysage de Cagnes'.) Executed between 1918 and 1919, Chaim Soutine's Maison de Clamart is one of the artist's earliest known landscapes, already embodying the passionate style and vigorous brushwork that would become characteristic of his oeuvre. Painted during one of his frequent visits to the Parisian suburb, Soutine captures the scene with a powerful naturalism that confronts both the materiality of the world and the forces that govern it. Though Maison de Clamart is structured and maintains some gestures of realism, the heavy impasto, infrequent use of the line, and diverse tonal palette convey the fragility of life that would haunt Soutine's work throughout his career. The white and red house that occupies the physical center of the painting, the only suggestion of human life in the landscape, is dominated by the writing vegetation that envelops it; the twisting foliage, trunks, tall grasses, and clusters of bushes that overcrowd the foreground and background become the true subject of the work. Moving across the canvas, from right to left, the world appears disrupted and uprooted, as though it could be swept away with a single stroke. What remains a bit unclear is Soutine's relationship to the amplified sense of anxiety that permeates the work. The quivering concentrations of green articulate unease, while the house remains untouched, as if protectively shrouded in the landscape. The tension between instability and safety is a problem that the artist would continue to work out throughout his practice and perhaps conveys his sense of comfort in the countryside. Painted just five years after moving to Paris from a small Jewish ghetto near Minsk, Soutine's Maison de Clamart reflects his deep admiration of Cézanne's artistic technique and principles as well as the artist's ongoing influence from Modigliani, with whom he shared a studio for many years. In Maison de Clarmart, Soutine flattens and crops the pictorial plane, fusing form and color, nature and man into a single unit. While the artist painted copious portraits and still lives over the course of his career, it was, above all, through landscapes that he most fulfilled himself. Soutine's landscapes also captured the eye of the art world, particularly in 1923 when the great American collector Albert Barnes took notice of Soutine's work. Through tireless collecting and promotion, Barnes ensured Soutine's place in the art world's major collections, including the Metropolitan Museum, Norton Simon Museum, and Tate Gallery. Most notable though is Soutine's profound influence on his peers and his legacy left to later artists, such as Francis Bacon, Philip Guston, and Jean Dubuffet. Soutine's commanding brushwork and masterful use of pigment, exemplified by Maison de Clamart, liberated the avant-garde from the constraints of Cubism and was a central figure for later gestural painters, including Willem de Kooning, and Jackson Pollock. Jodi Waynberg (<)
Auction: Christie's -May 2, 2012 - New YorkLot number: 366
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Chaim Soutine (1893-1943) Jeune homme obliquement étendu signed 'Soutine' (lower left) oil on canvas 23 3/8 x 20½ in. (59.4 x 52 cm.) Painted in 1921-1922 Kurt Mettler, Saint-Gall, Switzerland. Galerie Bignou, Paris. Perls Galleries, New York. William March, Paris (acquired from the above, by 1954). Private collection; sale, Galerie Charpentier, Paris, 3-4 June 1958. Maurice Kotler, Paris. Private collection (by descent from the above); sale, Christie's, London, 24 June 1997, lot 241. Acquired at the above sale by the present owners. PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF ALAN DERSHOWITZ AND CAROLYN COHEN P. Courthion, Soutine, Peintre du déchirant, Lausanne, 1972, p. 233, no. A (illustrated; dated 1923-1924). This work will be included in the forthcoming third volume of the Chaïm Soutine catalogue raisonné currently being prepared by Maurice Tuchman and Esti Dunow. The present portrait was executed during Soutine's intermittent four year stay in Céret (1919-1922), located on the Spanish border of the Pyrénées. Around 1921, Soutine embarked on his celebrated "Praying Man" series. Where the artist's portraits of preceding years depict the sitter up close, their gaze mostly direct, the attenuated Praying Men span the height of their uniformly narrow canvases, their eyes fixed upward or off to the side. Jeune homme obliquement éntendu shares this orientation, though set diagonally, rather than vertically: its model sits languidly back, hands resting on his lap, looking upward. Unlike the suit-clad Praying Men, the figure's smock resembles that of the butcher (fig. 1), the strip of red at upper left perhaps signaling the relation "of colour to vocation, of red to butchery" (M. Tuchman and E. Dunow, Chaïm Soutine, Die Leidenschaft des Malens, exh. cat., Galerie Thomas, Munich, 2009, p. 104). In the coming years, Soutine would devote increasing attention to uniformed figures and blistering, carneous still lifes. The artist's preoccupation with food and butchery may have stemmed from the secular and religious rituals of the shtetl--the killing of the chicken on Yom Kippur as well as the Christ-like slaughter of the cow at the hand of the butcher, which made an indelible impression on the young artist: "once I saw the village butcher slice the neck of a bird and drain the blood out of it. I wanted to cry out, but his joyful expression caught the sound in my throat. This cry, I always feel it there" (Soutine quoted in M. Tuchman, E. Dunow and K. Perls, Chaïm Soutine, Catalogue Raisonné, Cologne, 1993, vol. I, p. 16). The present painting does not echo the Praying Men so much as it stands astride these innovative Céret canvases and Soutine's striking "uniformed" portraits of the later 1920s and 1930s, when his "figures become increasingly passive. The faces and gestures are quieter and more withdrawn, displaying a kind of lethargy and resignation that is touched with sadness" (M. Tuchman, E. Dunow and K. Perls, Chaïm Soutine, Catalogue Raisonné, Cologne, 1993, vol. II, p. 512). This wistful "lethargy and resignation" is not commonly reflected in the sitters' bearings, however, which by and large remain upright. Indeed, Jeune homme obliquement éntendu's form is somewhat atypical. Despite Soutine's notoriously demanding portrait sittings--he did not draw preliminary studies and, once begun, was often "oblivious to surrounding conditions or even the human needs of his model" (M. Tuchman and E. Dunow, op. cit., p. 14)--there are surprisingly few reclining figures in the artist's oeuvre. Though the sitter is unidentified and his gaze abstracted, through the subtle tension between pose and mien--his recumbent state belied by his arched brows--Soutine vividly conjures his melancholy subject: "if a portrait aims to capture the soul of its sitter, then we can call every image Soutine painted a 'portrait'" (M. Tuchman, E. Dunow and K. Perls, op. cit., vol. II, p. 513). The present painting has an eclectic and impressive history. Its first recorded owner, Kurt Mettler, was an affluent Swiss dealer and friend of controversial collector Dr. Albert C. Barnes. He opened his own gallery in Paris in 1924, his initial stock comprised of 13 oils by Soutine which Barnes had bought two years before. The work later passed to the famed dealer Klaus Perls, co-author of the artist's catalogue raisonné. By midcentury, "almost every painting by Soutine sold in the USA passed through his hands" (M. Tuchman and E. Dunow, op. cit., p. 77). Perls in turn sold the work to his friend, the author William March, whose chilling 1954 novel The Bad Seed was made into Mervyn Leroy's Oscar-nominated 1956 film of the same name. (Perls and March had met in 1949 at the former's New York gallery, enjoying an unlikely rapport until the latter's death five years later.) Following the Galerie Charpentier sale in 1958, Jeune homme obliquement étendu was owned by celebrated Parisian furrier Maurice Kotler, passing by descent to the Christie's London auction in 1997, from which it was acquired by the present owners. (fig. 1) Chaïm Soutine, Le garçon boucher, circa 1919. Private collection.