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Soutine'S Portraits: Cooks, Waiters and Bellboys

Karen Serres Barnaby Wright



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Paul Holberton Publishing
01 November 2017
Art & design styles: Expressionism; Painting & paintings; Individual artists, art monographs; Portraits in art
Accompanying a major exhibition that focuses upon one of Chaim Soutine's most important series of portraits - of cooks, waiters and bellboys - this is the first time that this outstanding group of masterpieces has ever been brought together and it will be e first exhibition of Soutine's work in London for over thirty years Chaim Soutine (1893-1943) produced some of the most powerful and expressive portraits of modern times. His ability to capture in paint the character, humanity and emotion of his sitters is the hallmark of Soutine's greatest work. The major exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery, London, focuses upon one of his most important series of portraits; his paintings of cooks, waiters and bellboys who sat for him in Paris and the South of France during the 1920s. These works helped to establish Soutine's reputation as a major avant-grde painter, seen by many as the twentieth century heir to van Gogh. This will be the fi rst time that this outstanding group of masterpieces has ever been brought together and it will be the fi rst exhibition of Soutine's work in London for over thirty years. Soutine arrived in Paris as an emigre from Russia in 1913 and began a precarious existence as a penniless artist in Montparnasse living among fellow painters, such as Marc Chagall and Amedeo Modigliani. As part of this avant-garde coterie of artists, Soutine developed a highly original style that combined an expressive handling of paint with deep reverence for the Old Masters that he studied in the Louvre. His portraits often appear both timeless and vividly modern. These qualities are exemplifi ed by the series of paintings of cooks, waiters and bellhops that he produced during the 1920s. These lowly and often-overlooked fi gures from Paris's fashionable hotels and restaurants, including the famous Maxim's, appealed to Soutine's sense that profound emotion and a deep sense of humanity could be found in such humble sitters. The contrast between their working uniforms and the individuality of their faces adds to the emotional charge of these extraordinary portraits. Soutine strived to achieve the most powerful eff ects of colour from the bold whites, reds and blues of their diff erent uniforms. When he started the series, Soutine was living in near-poverty as a struggling artist. These portraits helped to lift him out of these desperate circumstances as they were soon admired by friends and become prized by collectors. Today, they are considered among his greatest achievements. This publication will bring together the most comprehensive group of these portraits. It will be a unique opportunity to experience the power and profound emotion of Soutine's art. 80 colour illustrations
Edited by:   Karen Serres, Barnaby Wright
Imprint:   Paul Holberton Publishing
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 260mm,  Width: 216mm, 
ISBN:   9781911300212
ISBN 10:   1911300210
Pages:   144
Publication Date:   01 November 2017
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Unspecified

Schroder Foundation Curator of Paintings, The Courtauld Gallery.

Reviews for Soutine'S Portraits: Cooks, Waiters and Bellboys

Outstanding group of portraits ... these portraits played a key role in establishing Soutine's reputation ... and today are considered among his greatest achievements. --The Oldie A strikingly modern series of portraits, 21 of which ... [that] established his reputation ... the artist's broad, Expressionist brushstrokes capture the individuality of each anonymous sitter, through posture, the suggested wrinkle of a frown, the downturn of a waiting maid's eyes. --Art Quarterly, Autumn 2017 This fascinating exhibition brings together for the first time Soutine's portraits of the patissiers, chefs, butchers, waiters, grooms, valets, bellhops and chambermaids of France's grand hotels and restaurants in the boom years between the wars. --The Spectator Touching collection of portraits --Town and Country Crushed into uniforms, forced to play one part or another on the social stage, the vulnerable, meaty essence of humanity keeps spilling out. Painting between two European wars that reduced people first to cattle then to ash, Soutine celebrates the rawness of our shared predicament. --The Guardian Welcome to the hotel of your nightmares. ... at their brilliant best, the figures he creates are all compressed and shrunken, moments from bursting out in anger. You might be a guest here, but you can't help feeling a little unwelcome. --Time Out A savagely attentive painter. --The Independent Chaim Soutine's worker portraits are superb ... a little gem of a show. --The Times Marvellous ... there's a lot of pathos in this show. A lot of projection. But what it is most full of is blasts of pictorial courage that make the efforts of other painters of the epoch feel tepid. --The Sunday Times Featuring color art on every page ... [Soutine's Portraits: Cooks, Waiters & Bellboys] sets the portraits within the context of Soutine's artistic life and development and the particular culture of French art during the years after WWI. -- (05/01/2018) These figures take centre-stage in the dark theatre of Soutine's art, with its urgent and expressive distortions. He sees the profundity in the humblest of sitters. --RA Magazine, Autumn 2017 Powerful images of a new social class of service personnel ... considered among his greatest achievements. --Apollo Tremendous ... the show is its own knockout experience requiring no explanations if you are at all intrigued by painters painting. But the catalogue adds a layer of fascination. --Evening Standard Marvellous ... of art-historical importance, but even more it demonstrates a triumph of imagination and human empathy, from a period of social extremes not so unlike our own. --Financial Times A superb, unsettling show --The Arts Desk A rare and remarkable series of studies that reflect the tensions between the anonymity and the individuality of the serving class. --The Telegraph Excellent essays --London Review of Books Given his lowly background, it's no surprise that when Soutine turned his hand to portraiture, he took Paris's humble service staff as his subjects ... these portraits are very much alive. --New York Review of Books Excellent survey --The Wall Street Journal

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