Lot 7
  • 7

Chaïm Soutine

10,000,000 - 15,000,000 USD
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  • Chaïm Soutine
  • Le chasseur de Chez Maxim's
  • Signed Soutine (lower left)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 32 1/4 by 29 1/2 in.
  • 82 by 75 cm


Jos Hessel, Paris

Georges Renand, Paris (acquired from the above in 1933 and until 1949)

Georges Schick, Paris (acquired in 1949)

Raphael Gérard

Jacques Lindon, New York

Baronne Alix de Rothschild, Paris (acquired by 1958 and sold: Christie's, London, June 27, 1978, lot 67)

Charles L. Tabachnick, Toronto (acquired in 1978)

Dorothy and Wendell Cherry, United States (acquired from the above in 1980 and sold from the Estate of Wendell Cherry: Sotheby's, New York, November 4, 2004, lot 24)

Acquired at the above sale


Paris, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Depuis Bonnard, 1957, no. 165

Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Exposition universelle et internationale de Bruxelles, 50 ans d'art moderne, 1958, no. 310, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Cent tableaux de Soutine, 1959, no. 85, illustrated in the catalogue

Munich, Haus der Kunst, Von Bonnard bis Heute. Meisterwerke aus französischem Privatbesitz, 1961, no. 101, illustrated in the catalogue

London, The Tate Gallery & Edinburgh Arts Festival, Chaïm Soutine, 1963, no. 38, illustrated in the catalogue

Jerusalem, Israel Museum, Soutine, 1968, no. 38, illustrated in color in the catalogue

London, Royal Academy of Arts, French Paintings Since 1900, From Private Collections in France, 1969, no. 132, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Munich, Haus der Kunst & Paris, Musée National d'Art Moderne, L'Expressionnisme européen, 1970, no. 57, illustrated in the catalogue

Tel Aviv, The Tel Aviv Museum, French Masters of the Twentieth Century, 1971, no. 73, illustrated in the catalogue

Louisville, Speed Art Museum, Corot to Picasso: French Drawings and Paintings at the Speed Art Museum, 2002-03


(Possibly) Maximilien Gauthier, Art Vivant, Paris, May 15, 1930, mentioned p. 417

Françoise Choay, "50 ans d'art moderne à Bruxelles," L'Oeil, no. 40, April 1958, discussed p. 108

Bernard Dorival, "La Vie des musées. Nouvelles acquisitions, Musée National d'Art Moderne," Revue des Arts, vol. 9, no. 4-5, April-May 1959, discussed p. 224

Pierre Cabanne, "A la Galerie Charpentier: Soutine en 119 toiles," Arts, Paris, June 24-30, 1959, discussed p. 16

Gabriel Talphir, "Chaïm Soutine," Gazith, Art and Literary Journal, Tel Aviv, August-September 1959, illustrated pl. 14

George Waldemar, Soutine, Paris, 1959, illustrated in color on the cover

Emile Langui, Fifty Years of Modern Art, New York, 1959, no. 300, illustrated

Bernard Dorival, L'Ecole de Paris au Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, 1961, discussed p. 216

Andrew Forge, Soutine, London, 1965, no. 33, illustrated pp. 24, 41-42

Sydney Goodsir Smith, "Works by Contrasting Masters," The Scotsman, Edinburgh, August 19, 1963, mentioned

"Modigliani and Soutine - Two Painters of the Twentieth Century," Illustrated London News, September 14, 1963, illustrated p. 389

David Sylvester, "Soutine", The Sunday Times Colour Magazine, London, September 15, 1963, illustrated p. 8

Elder T. Dickson, "International and Scottish Painting at the Edinburgh Festival," Studio International, London, November 1963, discussed p. 205

Joseph Rykwert, "A Londra le mostre di Klee, Soutine, Modigliani," Domus, Milan, December 1963, illustrated p. 56

Marcellin Castaing & Jean Leymarie, Soutine, Paris & Lausanne, 1963, discussed p. 26

Maurice Tuchman, "Portraits de Soutine," Art de France, Paris, 1964, mentioned pp. 214-15

Raymond Cogniat, "The Collection of Baroness Alix de Rothschild," Studio International, vol. 169, no. 863, March 1965, illustrated p. 115

Renata Negri, Soutine, Milan, 1966, no. 9, illustrated

Henri Serouya, Soutine, Paris, 1967, illustrated pl. IX

Philip James, "The School of Paris, The Royal Academy Show," Apollo, October 1969, illustrated p. 339 and pl. 10

Bernard S. Meyers, ed., McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Art, New York & London, 1969, vol. 5, illustrated p. 215

Joseph-Emile Muller, "L'Expressionnisme européen," XXe Siècle, vol. 32, no. 35, December 1970, illustrated p. 163

Pierre Courthion, Soutine. Peintre du déchirant, Lausanne, 1972, illustrated p. 277A

Alfred Werner, Chaïm Soutine, New York, 1977, mentioned p. 80

Maurice Tuchman, Esti Dunow & Klaus Perls, Chaïm Soutine, Catalogue raisonné, vol. II, Cologne, 1993, no. 90, illustrated p. 647


This work is in good condition. The canvas was lined, probably in the mid-20th century. The paint layer is stable and the pigments are remarkably fresh and lively. There is a thin horizontal indentation across the center of the canvas with minor associated cracking that is visible in raking light, resulting presumably from an occurrence when the paint layer was wet. Under UV light, there are a few minor retouches to the figure's left shoulder as well as a few other scattered dots in the background. There is a 4-inch thin line of in-painting above an old damage that may have happened before the painting left the artist's studio running diagonally through the figure's left shoulder and a 2 1/2 inch line of inpainting at the upper left corner, otherwise fine.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

A masterwork of Expressionism, Le Chasseur de chez Maxim's is one of the most striking paintings of Soutine's oeuvre. The artist's portraits of anonymous sitters exude an emotional force unique within the history of twentieth century art. Dynamic brushwork and bold coloring position the current work at the zenith of this series. The sitter in this work is an employee at the elegant Maxim's restaurant in Paris, a figure who appears in another work by the same name in the collection of the Allbright Knox Art Gallery (fig. 3). Soutine captures in these works the thriving social ambience of 1920s Paris while he glorifies the humanity of his subjects.

Maxim's was founded in 1893 by a former waiter, Maxime Gaillard, who anglicized his name and created one of the smartest establishments of the Belle Epoque. Known for its refined French cooking and Art Nouveau décor, Maxim's was the gathering place for the elite. By the 1920s, its lofty reputation was still attracting those from the most fashionable echelons of Parisian society. Soutine was among those who frequented Maxim's, but his interest in this setting was motivated more by those who worked at this establishment than those who dined there. 

Although Soutine painted a wide range of sitters throughout his career, the formal arrangements of these portraits remained consistent: his sitters are usually rendered seated, occasionally standing, in half-length or three-quarter-length pose. These figures, often facing frontally and clothed in formal dress, create a sense of posing, rather than a spontaneously captured likeness. Another recurring feature is the elongated shape of the head, often with a long nose, large protruding ears and deep, expressive eyes. The background, painted in deep blue tones, is bare and, apart from describing an interior setting, does not offer any clues as to the surrounding in which the sitter is depicted. This deliberate lack of detail takes the viewer's focus away from the potential narrative of the painting, centering our attention on the emotional power of the portrait. The energy and expressive force of Le Chasseur de chez Maxim's is evocative of the angst-ridden self-portraits of Van Gogh, as well as of his depictions of semi-anonymous sitters the artist encountered in everyday life (fig. 2).

In deliberately depicting the young man from Chez Maxim's in his uniform, Soutine characterizes his sitter while making a clear formal gesture. Maurice Tuchman writes: "Soutine's involvement with uniformed figures, seen already with the pastry cooks, continues in the paintings of 1925-29, in which we encounter choir boys, cooks, and hotel employees. The impulse to group colors into broad self-contained areas makes the uniform an attractive motif for Soutine. The uniform provides a ready-made surface of large, flat shapes of color. Each color is isolated into its own field, within which variations or nuancing occur. Red seems to be the dominant color (note the choir boys, grooms, and hotel figures), with blue, white, and black following" (Maurice Tuchman, Esti Dunow & Klaus Perls, op. cit., pp. 511-12).