Chaïm Soutine [1893-1943]

Self Portrait
Russian painter

Chaïm Soutine

was born,

January 13, 1893

in Smilavichy in the Minsk Governorate of the Russian Empire

(present-day Belarus)

Soutine made a major contribution to the expressionist movement while living and working in Paris. His work was characterized by the use of thick impasto, agitated brushwork, convulsive compositional rhythms, and the presence of disturbing psychological content.

Inspired by classic painting in the European tradition, exemplified by the works of Rembrandt, Chardin and Courbet, Soutine developed an individual style more concerned with shape, color, and texture over representation, which served as a bridge between more traditional approaches and the developing form of Abstract Expressionism.

So here’s a glimpse of his work & few words
The Large Blue Tree
The Young English Girl

“Ah, the giant that is Rembrandt; he’s God, he’s God!”

Still Life with Rayfish
The Village
Landscape with Figures

“It is the first time in my life that I have not been able to do anything. I am in a bad state of mind and I am demoralized, and that influences me. I have only [made] seven canvases. I am sorry. I wanted to leave Cagnes, this landscape that I cannot endure. I even went for a few days to Cap Martin, where I thought of settling down. It displeased me. I had to rub out the canvases I started… I am in Cagnes again, against my will, where, instead of landscapes, I shall be forced to do some miserable still lifes. You will understand in what a state of indecision I am. Can’t you suggest some place for me? Because, several times I have had the intention of returning to Paris.”

View of Céret
The Turkey
Return From School
The Idiot

“You don’t like my painting, you only want to help me. If you had given me one franc for my picture I would have taken it [when M. Castaing discovered his art for the very first time and offered him in advance 100 franc to make a new painting]”

Woman in Pink
The Table
The Room Service Waiter

Hanging Turkey
Leaning Tree
The Fiancée
Steeple of Saint-Pierre at Céret
Portrait Of A Man With A Felt Hat

“I never touched Cubism myself, you know, although I was attracted by it one time. When I was painting at Céret and at Cagnes [1919, and from 1923]. I yielded to its influence in spite of myself, and the results were not entirely banal. But then… Céret itself is anything but banal. There is so much foreshortening in the landscape that, for that very reason, a picture may seem to have been painted in some specific style”

La Maison blanche
Female Nude

“I want to show Paris in the carcass of an ox.”

Still life with Pheasant
Altar Boy
Landscape with Figures-Céret

“Once I saw the village butcher [in his youth, in Russia] slice the neck of a bird and drain the blood out of it. I wanted to cry out, but his joyful expression caught the sound in my throat… This cry, I always feel it there. When, as I drew a crude portrait of my professor, I tried to rid myself of this cry, but in vain. When I painted the beef carcass it was still this cry that I wanted to liberate. I have still not succeeded.”

Portrait of a Man (Emile Lejeune)
Side of Beef and Calf’s Head
The Plucked Chicken
Farm Girl
Chemin de la Fontaine des Tins at Céret
The Best Man
View of Cagnes
Altar Boy
Portrait of Madeleine Castaing

“You have no right to interfere with my art. Your wife is not your property. I need her, in order to finish my picture, I must have her! I will sue you! [the woman returned by persuasion of the Castaings who supported Soutine].”

Portrait of Soutine by Amedeo Modigliani

Soviet Russian cellist

Daniil Borisovich Shafran [1923-1997]

was also born on this day,

January 13, 1923

so we listen to him play his beloved Antonio Amati cello in

Dmitri Shostakovich

Cello Sonata in D minor, Op 40

Dmitri Shostakovich, piano

Recorded live, November 1946

00:00 Allegro non troppo
12:19 Allegro
15:49 Largo
24:47 Allegro

For more information on Soutine:


Be Safe

19 replies »

  1. thank you for introducing this artist as my knowledge is not very broad! I was struck by the still life art Soutine did at first before he went further into the distortions and “convulsive compositional rhythms”
    Seemingly the idiot is made for laughter though: “I am a fool with a heart but no brains, and you are a fool with brains but no heart; and we’re both unhappy, and we both suffer.” ― Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Idiot ”
    As a Jew he did well to leave Russia but then Paris too became unsafe – his bleeding carcass paintings were eerily predictive of his haemorrhagic death by perforated ulcer

  2. “The Idiot” is still making me laugh!
    It seems like a self portrait in ways.
    The portraits by Amedeo Modigliani are fabulous!

  3. The music went very well with the art, at times.
    Such a unique artist, although not really my cup of tea.
    However, I burst out laughing when I came upon “The Idiot” LOLOLOLOL
    and I like “Gladioli”, which I thought was his only pretty painting.

    Speaking of paintings, the 2 you sent me are in the post Holly and I just made for you. Hope you live it!

  4. Soutine may have been born in Smilavichy but smiles aren’t what his pictures of dead animals and raw meat are intended to elicit.

    I didn’t know that Soutine painted any nudes. An online article says the one you showed is the only one he ever painted.

Happy to hear your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.