Mareeg.com-The Jewish Museum in New York City is currently presenting the work of Chaim Soutine (1893-1943), featuring just over thirty paintings by one of the most distinctive and significant artists of the early twentieth century. Focusing on still life paintings, of which he was a master, “Chaim Soutine: Flesh” includes his vigorous depictions of various slaughtered animals – of beef carcasses, hanging fowl, and game. These are dynamic works of great boldness and intensity, and taken together they constitute a sustained and profoundly sensuous interrogation of the flesh, of carnality – of blood, skin and sinew.
Soutine was a Russian-French Jew, born in Smilavichy (in present day Belarus), the tenth child of an extremely religious tailor who wanted his son to become a shoemaker. Routinely beaten, Soutine grew up in poverty amidst virulent anti-Semitism. By 1913, he arrived in Paris where he would train at the École des Beaux-Arts under Fernand Cormon, chiefly known for his images of the macabre. It was not long before Soutine established his individual style and technique, which dispensed with preliminary drawing, and was marked by a striking use of color and an enlivened, animated brush. In 1923, a collector purchased almost all of his work: Soutine went from being a literally starving artist to a celebrity almost overnight.