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PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE NEW YORK COLLECTION

Chaïm Soutine
PORTRAIT DE JEUNE FILLE (PAULETTE JOURDAIN)
Estimate
400,000600,000
LOT SOLD. 828,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
218

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE NEW YORK COLLECTION

Chaïm Soutine
PORTRAIT DE JEUNE FILLE (PAULETTE JOURDAIN)
Estimate
400,000600,000
LOT SOLD. 828,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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New York

Chaïm Soutine
1893 - 1943
PORTRAIT DE JEUNE FILLE (PAULETTE JOURDAIN)
Signed Soutine (lower right)
Oil on canvas
13 3/8 by 14 1/4 in.
34.6 by 36.1 cm
Painted circa 1928. 
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Provenance

Marcellin & Madeleine Castaing, Paris (acquired directly from the artist)
Michel Castaing, Paris (by descent from the above and sold by the estate: Sotheby’s, London, June 22, 2004, lot 167)
Galerie Jan Krugier, Geneva (acquired at the above sale)
Cheim & Read, New York
Acquired from the above in 2006

Exhibited

Chicago, Arts Club, Paintings by Chaim Soutine, 1935, no. 6 (possibly) 
Paris, Orangerie des Tuileries, Soutine, 1973, no. 59
Milan, Galleria Bergamini, Chaim Soutine (1893-1943), I Dipinti della Collezione Castaing, 1987, no. 6, illustrated in color in the catalogue
Chartres, Musée de Chartres, Soutine, 1989, no. 60, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Literature

Marcellin Castaing & Jean Leymarie, Soutine, Paris & Lausanne, 1963, illustrated in color pl. XXV
Pierre Courthion, Soutine, Peintre du déchirant, Lausanne, 1972, fig. C, illustrated p. 276 (dated 1933)
Frank Elgar, "La Peinture forcenée de Soutine" in Carrefour, Paris, May 3, 1973, cited Michel LeBrun, "Quand Soutine peignait au Blanc" in Berry, no. 12, winter 1989, illustrated in color p. 10
Maurice Tuchman, Esti Dunow & Klaus Perls, Chaim Soutine, Catalogue raisonné, vol. II, Cologne, 1993, no. 109, illustrated in color p. 673

Catalogue Note

Portrait de jeune fille (Paulette Jourdain) epitomizes Soutine's portraiture of the middle and late 1920s, characterized by a great expressiveness of pose, rhythmically charged brushstrokes and strong color contrasts. 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 a 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" (Maurice Tuchman, Esti Dunow & Klaus Perls, op. cit., p. 509).

The sitter, Paulette Jourdain (1904-1997), was born in the small coastal town of Concarneau in Brittany (see fig. 1). She came to Paris in the first part of 1919 and moved into Léopold Zborowski’s apartment at 3, rue Joseph Bara in Montparnasse to work, first as a domestic servant before quickly becoming an assistant in the dealer’s operations. She also took courses at a local commercial school. Zborowski operated his business out of his apartment because he did not have a gallery until 1926. Paulette Jourdain first met Soutine in Céret in 1919 and would regularly pose for him and Modigliani in Paris (see fig. 2). Jourdain and Zborowski eventually had a daughter named Jacqueline in 1924. After working for Zborowski for thirteen years, she became an independent gallerist when he passed away in 1932.

Portrait de jeune fille (Paulette Jourdain) exemplifies the extraordinary talents of Chaim Soutine, one of the most innovative portraitists of the early twentieth century. Rather than seeking glamorous models of high social status, Soutine instead turned to everyday people as a source of inspiration for his most successful works. In his wildly expressive and eccentric depictions of these figures, Soutine is able to transform the appearance of his models from the commonplace to the truly outstanding. Soutine painted this portrait with great care, using an unusual shade of deep blue to softly surround the dark hair of his subject.

The present work was once in the famous collection of Marcellin and Madeleine Castaing. In 1925, the Castaings acquired their first Soutine from the dealer Léopold Zborowski. A subsequent visit to the artist’s studio heralded a lifelong friendship and association. Over time, the couple became Soutine's leading patrons, assembling a collection of over forty paintings that included many of the artist's finest. In 1928, Soutine painted the celebrated portrait of Madeleine Castaing (see fig. 3), now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. As their friendship flourished, he spent each summer between 1930 and 1935 at the family’s country house in Lèves, near Chartres. Madeleine Castaing (1894-1992) was one of the leading interior decorators of  post-war Paris. Her boutique at the corner of the rue Bonaparte  and the rue Jacob displayed her unique taste, often transforming Empire and Russian furniture through her own choice of modern fabrics.

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