Chaim Soutine was yet another brilliant but tragically short lived painter, dying at the age of 50 in 1943. He was a Russian Jew who studied art as a youth in his native Belarus then emigrated to Paris in 1913. There, among the many diverse artistic influences, his distinct expressionistic style found its voice and over the next two decades he produced a powerful body of work. However, he wasn’t hailed as the great painter he truly was until the days just before the start of World War II.
As a Jew in German occupied France, he was forced to be always on the move from safe haven to the next in order to avoid the Gestapo. He sometimes found himself sleeping outside in the forests. In 1943, he suffered a perforated stomach ulcer and died during emergency surgery.
He is best known for his paintings of the carcasses of meat and his still lives, all painted in his wild, heavily impasto manner. However, for me, it is his landscapes that are the real treasures. They have a tremendous amount of movement through them that forms a rhythm that, along with the color and contrasts of the surface, make them sing for me. I just see them as being very powerful pieces.
Take a look for yourself at some of my favorite Soutine landscapes.