Lot 22
  • 22

Chaïm Soutine

4,000,000 - 6,000,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Chaïm Soutine
  • La femme en rouge sur fond bleu
  • Signed Soutine (lower left)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 32 by 21 1/4 in.
  • 81.2 by 54 cm


Georges Schick, Paris

Perls Galleries, New York (acquired by 1948)

Sydney M. Shoenberg, St. Louis

E. V. Thaw & Co., Inc., New York (acquired circa 1975)

Stephen Hahn, New York

Perls Galleries, New York

Philippe Reichenbach, Geneva

Private Collection (acquired from the above in the 1980s and sold: Sotheby's, London, June 19, 2006, lot 24)

Acquired at the above sale by A. Alfred Taubman


Paris, Galerie de France, Soutine, 1945, no. 28

New York, Perls Galleries, The Perls Galleries Collection of Modern French Paintings, 1948, no. 110, illustrated in the catalogue

Paris, XXXe Salon de Montrouge, 1986, no. 18

Tokyo, Odakyu Grand Gallery; Nara, Nara Sogo Museum of Art; Ibaraki, Kasama Nichido Museum of Art & Hokkaido, Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, Chaïm Soutine, Centenary Exhibition, 1992-93, no. 65, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Lugano, Museo d'Arte Moderna, Chaïm Soutine, 1995, no. 70, illustrated in color in the catalogue


Pierre Courthion, Soutine, peintre du déchirant, Paris, 1972, no. D, illustrated p. 262 

Maurice Tuchman, Esti Dunow & Klaus Perls, Chaïm Soutine. Catalogue raisonné, Cologne, vol. II, 1993,  no. 125, illustrated in colour p. 695

Catalogue Note

La femme en rouge sur fond bleu of circa 1928 exemplifies Soutine’s portraiture style after 1922, characterised by the highly expressive, dramatic use of color and the distortion of the sitter’s body. The vast majority of Soutine’s human images are single portraits, usually seated figures, half or three-quarter-length. While the male sitters are almost all young men or boys wearing some type of uniform – pastry cooks, choir boys and waiters – the women are not so easily identified. In the present portrait of an unidentified woman Soutine models her face through the interaction of red and blue which is echoed in the stark contrasts between the red dress and deep blue background. A certain confrontational quality characteristic of Soutine’s portraits is present in La femme en rouge sur fond bleu, achieved not only through energetic brushstrokes and the striking color scheme but also through the positioning of the subject close to the picture plane and the flattening of the perspective.

In discussing the present work, Maïthé Vallès-Bled commented: "The model’s beautiful red dress and jewellery would lead one to suppose that she is an actress or a singer. She may also have been a guest in one of the grand hotels that the artist sometimes visited. His taste for beautiful clothes, which is not apparent in any of his previous works, now comes to the fore in some of his portraits. Soutine, who but a few years prior to this had lived in conditions of poverty and neglect, now began to cultivate his appearance. He wore clothes by the finest designers, loved to wear hats and even had his hands regularly manicured. The model’s pose is elegant and her hair is painted with great care" (M. Vallès-Bled, in Chaïm Soutine [exhibition catalogue], op. cit., 1995, p. 173).