- Chaïm Soutine
- Le Rouquin
- Signed C. Soutine (lower right)
- Oil on canvas
Private Collection, Brussels (acquired from the above in the late 1940s and sold: Sotheby's, London, February 5, 2001, lot 16)
Private Collection, Europe (acquired at the above sale and sold: Sotheby’s, New York, November 7, 2007, lot 37)
Acquired at the above sale
Pierre Couthion, Soutine, peintre du déchirant, Lausanne, 1972, illustrated p. 183 (dated 1917)
Soutine, Céret 1919-1922 (exhibition catalogue), Musée d'Art Moderne, Céret, 2000, p. 512 (dated 1919 and with the incorrect dimensions)
Regardless of the age, social status, or the artist's personal involvement with the sitter, Soutine's portraits are imbued with a strong physical presence, as well as with the uniqueness and individuality of his subjects. As the authors of the Catalogue raisonné of Soutine's work have commented: "While his portraits do convey inner realities and make spiritual statements, they are primarily rooted in concrete perception. Though Soutine may project his inner turbulence and most personal feelings onto his subjects, the viewer never loses sight of a particular physical entity being carefully observed and experienced. Even the distortions and exaggerations of facial features and the shiftings and dislocations of body parts do not destroy the essential recognition in each painting of a certain person and a reality specific to him or her" (M. Tuchman, E. Dunow & K. Perls, Chaïm Soutine, Catalogue raisonné, Cologne, 1993, vol. II, p. 509).
Monroe Wheeler writes of the group of artists with whom Soutine mixed in Paris in the late 1910s, and of his character as an artist: "Soutine, Pascin, Utrillo and Modigliani - they have been grouped together as though violence of temper and proneness to trouble constituted a school of art. In France they are called Les peintres maudits - painters under a curse... Soutine was the least calamitous and least dissipated of the four, but perhaps the saddest. For as his art developed, it offered no distraction from his anxieties, animosities and self-reproach - no escape. Not that he intended any effect of autobiography by means of his art. But from an early age he used his hardship, pessimism and truculence to set a tragic tone for his painting, irrespective of its subject matter. Limiting the themes of his work to conventional categories - still life, landscape, portraiture and picturesque figure-painting - he would always charge his pictures with extreme implications of what he had in mind: violence of nature, universality of hunger, and a peculiar mingling of enthusiasm and antipathies" (Monroe Wheeler, Chaïm Soutine, New York, Museum of Modern Art (exhibition catalogue), 1950, p. 31).