Chaïm Soutine (1893-1943)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE SWISS COLLECTION
Chaïm Soutine (1893-1943)

Les grands prés à Chartres, au viaduc

Chaïm Soutine (1893-1943)
Les grands prés à Chartres, au viaduc
oil on canvas
36 5/8 x 23 5/8 in. (93 x 60 cm.)
Painted circa 1934
Madeleine & Marcellin Castaing, Lèves.
Théophile Bader, Paris, by whom acquired from the above.
Mrs Schwab, Paris, a gift from the above.
Anonymous sale, Christie's, New York, 13 May 1999, lot 233.
Acquired at the above sale by the previous owner; sale, Christie's, London, 26 June 2002, lot 199.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
P. Courthion, Soutine, Peintre du déchirant, Lausanne, 1972, p. 282, no. E (illustrated p. 283).
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.

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India Phillips
India Phillips

Lot Essay

This work will be included in the forthcoming new edition of the Chaïm Soutine catalogue raisonné currently being prepared by Maurice Tuchman and Esti Dunow.

Soutine painted Les grands prés à Chartres, au viaduc during a period of a renewed and vigorous interest in landscape painting. For fourteen years he had focused almost exclusively on still-life and portraiture but on spending his summers in the countryside near Chartres he turned his attention to the landscape once more. During the summers between 1931 and 1935, Soutine lived and worked at the home of the celebrated interior designer, Madeleine Castaing and her husband Marcellin, who were the first owners of the present work. The Castaings were pillars of the artistic community of Montparnasse and became intimate friends with a number of the important avant-garde artists including André Derain, Fernand Léger, Pablo Picasso and particularly Soutine. They had met the artist in 1927 at the time of his first exhibition and, having admired his work, they offered him protection and support after the death of his dealer in 1932 and acquired a substantial collection of his paintings.

The stability and calm offered to Soutine at the home of the Castaings has been seen as prompting a more structured and solid composition when the works of this period are compared with his early landscapes painted at Céret. The scenes from Céret are characterised by a swirling, claustrophobic composition in which the chaos of the land rises and falls in tempestuous undulations, while the present work displays a more ordered and lucid articulation of the landscape, where movement is tempered by stability.

In Les grands prés à Chartres, au viaduc the strong vertical lines of the tree trunks and horizontal lines of the ground and viaduct create the structure of the painting while more subtle diagonal lines in the branches of the trees lend a sense of gentle wind-swept movement. The painting is further animated by the energy of Soutine's brushwork, consistent with his tenet that 'l'expression est dans la touche du pinceau' (Soutine, quoted in N. Kleeblatt & K. Silver, An Expressionist in Paris, The Paintings of Chaïm Soutine, New York, 1998, p. 139). The height and vertical emphasis of the trees highlight the small scale of man and his achievements in relation to nature; the tiny figures in the foreground are dwarfed by soaring trees and even the viaduct appears small in comparison, relegated to the background of the composition.

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