- Chaïm Soutine
- LA PAUVRETTE
- signed C. Soutine (lower right)
- oil on linoleum
- 37 by 23.5cm., 14 5/8 by 9 1/4 in.
Thence by descent to the present owners
Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Cent tableaux de Soutine, 1959, no. 109, illustrated in the catalogue
Paris, Galerie Max Kaganovitch, Œuvres choisies du XXème siècle, 1962, no. 59a
Paris, Galerie Max Kaganovitch, Œuvres choisies de 1900 à nos jours, 1964, no. 58
Kawasiki, Municipal Museum (and travelling in Japan), La Grande Aventure de Montparnasse, 1910-1930, 1988-89, no. 140, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Georges Boudaille, 'Soutine: poète de la détresse et de l'innocence' in Les Lettres Françaises, Paris, no. 779, 25 June-1 July 1959
Pierre Cabanne, 'A la Galerie Charpentier: Soutine en 119 toiles', in Arts, Paris, no. 728, 24-30 June 1959, p. 16
Waldemar George, Soutine, Paris, 1959, illustrated
René Barotte, 'Le Marchand qui ne veut pas vendre' in Paris Presse, Paris, 22 May 1962, illustrated p. 18
Henri Serouya, Soutine, Paris, 1967
Maurice Tuchman, Chaim Soutine, 1893-1943 (exhibition catalogue), Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 1968, pp. 39 & 41, illustrated p. 44
Pierre Courthion, Soutine: Peintre du déchirant, Lausanne, 1972, pp. 125 & 126, illustrated p. 280D
Chaim Soutine, 1893-1943 (exhibition catalogue), Hayward Gallery, London, 1981-82, p. 64, fig. 37
Soutine (exhibition catalogue), Musée de Chartres, Chartres, 1989, pp. 69 & 72
Maurice Tuchman, Esti Dunow & Klaus Perls, Chaim Soutine (1893-1943), Catalogue Raisonné, Cologne, 1993, vol. II, no. 171, illustrated in colour p. 758
La pauvrette is a moving example of the depictions of children that become increasing present in Soutine’s painting from the beginning of the 1930s. They are often shown sympathetically, in states of weariness and isolation, redolent of the emotion of the artist’s finest portraits and show the expressive potential of this motif.
Maurice Tuchman has written of La pauvrette (Portrait of a Child) that ‘Soutine’s concern with getting the image exactly as he felt it, and his relative lack of interest in fitting the image within the picture field, is illustrated in the Portrait of a Child, painted over colorfully patterned linoleum; he was able to work directly on the inflected field without distraction, an almost inconceivable approach for any other modern artist’ (Maurice Tuchman, Chaim Soutine, 1893-1943 (exhibition catalogue), Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 1968, p. 39).
Max Kaganovitch, a prominent gallery owner at the time, whose collection now hangs in a room named after him and his wife at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, acquired La pauvrette from Soutine in the mid-1930s. He later recalled:
‘One day, I see him arriving with a small picture under his arm, La pauvrette, painted in 1934 on a piece of linoleum which was still unpainted in the corners. “Give it back to me, I’ll cover it completely”, he said. I didn’t agree. Soutine left it like that, and signed in the gallery. Seeing that I was looking closely at the painting, he remarked, “Don’t look too closely at her shoes, she’s embarrassed, they’re well-worn and she’s a poor girl”’ (quoted in Pierre Courthion, Soutine: Peintre du déchirant, Lausanne, 1972, pp. 125-26).
FIG. 1, Photograph of Max Kaganovitch and the present work