Portrait of Chaim Soutine
Painting by Amedo Modigalini
Portrait of Chaim Soutine Seated on a Table
Modigliani was a skillful portraitist. After settling in Montparnasse in Paris, he became friend of contemporary artists like Pablo Picasso and Diego Rivera. They inspired Modigliani to paint their portraits and subsequently he took up portraiture as main part of his career.
Modigliani painted portraits of his friends, patrons, well wishers, lovers and of anybody who could catch his eyes.
The portraits of his hard-drinking friend, Chaim Soutine are considered as monumental works of Modigliani. In this portrait, Chaim Soutine is depicted as seated at a table.
This painting shows a man in an elegant pose, his head cocked to one side, indicating that contemplation is occurring or that he is weary, exhausted. His tie is loosely knotted suggesting a kind of casual relaxation. His hand is in the pocket and the other draped over the side of the table. The expression on his face is intense, lips are pursed, almost feminine and there are dark circles underneath his eyes which tell us that not all is what it appear to be, the eyes speak to us of toil, a depth of spirit and a profound desire to communicate. The hands are crossed. A wine glass, almost emptied, is kept on the table.
Soutine was often described as ‘Modiglianish’ because of his moon shaped oval head and bullet green eyes.
Soutine, fleecing Eastern Europe, came to Paris in 1913 and lived modestly. There he was among the circle of other Jewish artists like Chagall, Kisling and Modigliani.
While not as well known a painter, Soutine found his own personal expressive style in 1918. He produced majority of his works from 1920 to 1929. In 1937, he took part in an exhibition at “the Galorie Nationale dujeu de Paume” and was hailed as a great painter.
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