Lot 25
  • 25

Chaïm Soutine

600,000 - 800,000 GBP
941,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Chaïm Soutine
  • Les Platanes à Céret
  • signed Soutine (lower right)
  • oil on canvas
  • 53.5 by 72.5cm.
  • 21 by 28 1/2 in.


Henri Bing, Paris

G. Pardo de Leygonier, Paris

Estudio Actual, Caracas

Galerie Beyeler, Basel (acquired from the above in 1970)

Private Collection, Switzerland (acquired in 1971. Sold: Sotheby's, London, 19th June 2007, lot 23)

Purchased at the above sale by the present owner


Lugano, Museo d'Arte Moderna, Chaïm Soutine, 1995, no. 26, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Céret, Musée d'Art Moderne, Soutine. Céret 1919-1922, 2000, illustrated in colour in the catalogue (titled Les Platanes à Céret, Place de la Liberté and as dating from 1919)


Pierre Courthion, Soutine. Peintre du déchirant, Lausanne, 1972, fig. E, illustrated p. 191 (as dating from 1919)

Maurice Tuchman, Esti Dunow & Klaus Perls, Chaïm Soutine. Catalogue Raisonné, Cologne, 1993, vol. I, no. 56, illustrated in colour p. 169

Catalogue Note

Soutine lived in Céret, in the Eastern Pyrenees, from 1919 until 1922, painting a number of landscapes of the region. In moving to Céret, Soutine followed in the footsteps of many artists before him, including Picasso, Gris and Chagall, however he was the only one to immerse himself fully into his new surroundings, often wandering around town and absorbing the stimuli it offered him. The present work shows a view of the Place de la Liberté (fig. 1), one of the sites he favoured as a subject. During his years in Céret, Soutine used to paint en plein air, finding a hidden spot where no passer-by could see his work. Les Platanes à Céret displays the wonderful sense of rhythm and expressive composition which Soutine developed during this period. It was in Céret, at the age of 26, that he reached artistic maturity and formulated the pictorial style and expressive force that was to drive his art throughout his career.


Maïthé Vallés-Bled wrote about the present work: 'A solid composition places the gnarled trunks firmly on the sloping ground. The general movement of the construction is given by the diagonals of the thick branches on the left, bending at an angle towards the slope. The trees therefore cannot resist the winds and other climatic aggressions. Had the angle been drawn in the other direction, downhill, their balance would have been upset and they would have inevitably toppled over. This is precisely what is happening on the right-hand side of the painting where the inverted diagonals of the tree-trunks and branches collide and upset the initial balance. The trees here have the same symbolic weight, the same evocative power as the little toppled figures present in his landscapes' (M. Vallés-Bled in Chaïm Soutine (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., p. 158).