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Chaim Soutine (1894-1943)
Chaim Soutine (1894-1943)

Paysage à la route montante

Details
Chaim Soutine (1894-1943)
Paysage à la route montante
signed 'Soutine' (lower left)
oil on canvas
18¼ x 15 in. (46.4 x 38.1 cm.)
Painted circa 1922
Provenance
Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris (until 1928).
Jacques Soubiès, Paris (acquired from the above, 1928).
François Reichenbach, Paris.
Theodore Schempp, New York (1958).
M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York (1958-1962).
Louis Rochegude, Valence Drome, France (1962-1985).
Anon. sale, Sotheby's, London, 27 March 1985, lot 173.
Anon. sale, Christie's, London, 9 December 1998, lot 617.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Literature
P. Courthion, Soutine Peintre du Déchirant, Lausanne, 1972, no. C (illustrated, p. 228).
M. Tuchman, E. Dunow and K. Perls, Chaim Soutine, Catalogue raisonné, Cologne, 1993, vol. I, p. 226, no. 105 (illustrated in color, p. 229).
Exhibited
Geneva, Petit Palais Musée d'Art Moderne, Marc Chagall et l'Ecole de Paris, June-October 1997 (illustrated in color, p. 21).

Lot Essay

The present view was painted when Soutine was living in Ceret in the French Pyrénées. Isolated from his fellow painters, he immersed himself in his surroundings and worked feverishly on paintings of the rugged landscape and intense light particular to the region, travelling occasionally to Paris and the South of France for additional subjects. In a discussion of Soutine's paintings from the years 1919 and 1922, Maurice Tuchman writes, "His Ceret landscapes have often been referred to as unstable and earthquakelike, vibrating with movement, upheaval, and fever. Indeed, Soutine's avoidance of any pure horizontals or verticals in his forms accounts in part for the feeling of instability. The chaotic swirl of brush and paint, together with the packed tangle of forms, creates an intense image of raw energy. But while the Ceret landscapes appear tumultuous and anarchic, the underlying pictorial organization is deliberate" (ibid., p. 97).

As Soutine's exploration of the landscape subject progressed, his images became more legible and less dense and by 1921-1922 he had discovered the pictorial devise of tilting an image on an upright axis which was to be central to his art from then onwards. In Paysage à la route montante the subject is clearly understood and less claustrophobic in its arrangement than the earlier Ceret pictures. The road is flattened and pulled forward, its sinuous curves creating an undulating rhythm that is echoed by the forms of the trees and houses. The high key of the palette also accentuates the painting's emotional pitch. Painted circa 1922, Paysage à la route montante shares elements of the later Cagnes period paintings from 1923-1925 in its clear demarcation of spatial zones and greater atmospheric quality.
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