Louisiana Poster with the work, Le Grand Arbre a Vence , (The Great Tree of Vence), 1929, by the painter, Chaïm Soutine (1893-1943), published in connection with the Louisiana exhibition in 2024. Chaïm Soutine was born in what today is Belarus, and is considered among the leading expressionists of the so-called Paris School, and it is obvious that with the exhibition in Humlebæk – the first ever in Northern Europe – he will gain a new and larger audience. Despite being considered a central artist in classical modernism, Soutine has not previously achieved far-reaching attention in our latitudes.
As a painter, Soutine went his own way. Where many of his contemporaries were preoccupied with avant-garde Cubism, Dadaism and Fauvism, Soutine was relatively unimpressed by these ramifications of Modernism. Instead, he cultivated his own characteristic, very intense painting and an expressive expression that makes his paintings completely unique.
Soutine painted figures, still lifes and landscapes and is known for his distorted motifs, fiery colors and restless, powerful linework. His paintings are explosions of color, beautiful and violent at the same time and with an intensely trembling, disturbing and jagged imagery.
The artistically innovative potential of Soutine's work has had an influence well into the 20th century and has been a significant source of inspiration for artists such as Francis Bacon, Willem de Kooning and Georg Baselitz, who are all represented in Louisiana's collection. His name is often mentioned when contemporary artists are asked to point to their artistic role model.
Chaïm Soutine grew up in extreme poverty in a Jewish Orthodox family and knew at an early age that he wanted to be an artist and, despite his parents' great misgivings, was allowed to receive drawing lessons in Minsk.
Here, as a very young man, he painted a portrait of a man, which went against the orthodox canon, and Soutine was attacked and mistreated by the man's sons. The parents managed to get compensation for the assault paid out, and with this amount Soutine was able to go to Vilnius and enroll in the city's art school.
In 1913 he went to Paris, then the capital of the European avant-garde and a meeting point for many voluntarily and involuntarily exiled artists – especially from Eastern Europe. Although the metropolis was his second home, he remained an outsider throughout his life.
The first many years in Paris were characterized by hunger and poverty. Only in 1922-1923 did Soutine achieve a sudden and completely unexpected form of recognition, when the American collector Albert C. Barnes acquired no less than 52 of his works. This led to an improvement in Soutine's financial circumstances, but it did little to change his restless and shy nature – he constantly changed lodgings, formed few close relationships, spoke French poorly and was described as odd.
On the whole, we know very little about him as a person. He left behind very few drawings and sketches and no notes, kept no diary and only wrote a few cards and letters. As stateless and Jewish, his existence became extremely uncertain when the Germans entered and occupied Paris in 1940. Soutine lived more or less in hiding and on the run in his last years. When he finally ventured back to Paris in 1943 for surgery on a bleeding stomach ulcer, it was too late.
Dimensions: 59.4 x 84.1 cm (A1)
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Frame: 12 mm
Material: Frame in solid oak and with high-quality acrylic glass.