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Chaim Soutine

Untitled

oil on canvas
1923-1924
60 x 73 cm / 23 5/8 x 28 3/4 in.
with signature lower right

When Soutine had come to Paris from Lithuania in 1913, he soon became good friends with Amedeo Modigliani. It was Modigliani who ensured that his art dealer Leopold Zborowski also signed Soutine. In 1919, Zborowski sent his protégé to Céret, where he remained until 1922 and created more than 100 works, mainly landscapes. They are expressive, eruptive, wild and abstract. At the beginning of 1923, Zborowski encouraged Soutine to go to southern France again, this time to Cagnes-sur-Mer. The result were expressive, almost rhythmic works, entirely different from the Céret paintings. He painted the small town of Cagnes, which is located on a hill, in many variations. One of these is the present "Landscape in Cagnes" from 1923. The powerful brush stroke draws the viewer into the town on the hill; the pull also seems to encompass the surrounding landscape and the houses, which adapt themselves to the curves of the street in an amorphous vortex. However, the movement does not disturb the painting composition, Soutine contains it and generates a defining poignancy in the process. While the composition in the Céret paintings appears to burst out of the confining edges of the painting and is often difficult to read, the motifs in the Cagnes paintings are once again recognisable, Soutine's painting style more descriptive and calm.

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