Chaim Soutine (1893-1943)
Chaim Soutine (1893-1943)

Vieille maison aux environs de Chartres

Chaim Soutine (1893-1943)
Vieille maison aux environs de Chartres
signed 'C. Soutine' (lower right)
oil on canvas
18½ x 24 5/8 in. (47 x 62.5 cm.)
Painted circa 1934
Justin K. Thannhauser, New York (circa 1948).
Mr. and Mrs. David Finkle, New York (circa 1950).
Private collection (by descent from the above); sale, Christie's, New York, 11 May 1989, lot 352.
Philippe Reichenbach, Geneva (acquired at the above sale).
G. Talphir, "Chaim Soutine," Gazith, Art and Literary Journal, vol. 17, no. 195-196, August-September 1959 (illustrated, pl. 6).
M. Tuchman, Chaim Soutine, exh. cat., The Tate Gallery, London, 1963, p. 25.
P. Courthion, Soutine, Peintre du Déchirant, Lausanne, 1972, p. 279 (illustrated, fig. A).
E. Dunow, Chaïm Soutine, Evolution in Form and Expression, exh. cat., Gallery Bellman, New York, 1983, p. 8.
M. Tuchman, E. Dunow and K. Perls, Chaïm Soutine, Catalogue raisonné, Cologne, 1993, vol. I, p. 292, no. 156 (illustrated in color).
Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Cent tableaux de Soutine, 1959, no. 24 (illustrated; titled Vieille maison à la campagne and dated circa 1920).
Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Jerusalem, The Israel Museum, Chaïm Soutine, February-August 1968, p. 54, no. 82 and no. 43, respectively (illustrated, p. 138; titled The Old House).
New York, Marlborough Gallery, Chaïm Soutine, October-November 1973, p. 79, no. 63 (illustrated; titled The Old House).

Brought to you by

David Kleiweg de Zwaan
David Kleiweg de Zwaan

Lot Essay

Soutine painted Vieille maison aux environs de Chartres 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 found himself turning his attention back to landscape as a result of spending his summers in the countryside near Chartres from 1931 to 1935. During this time, Soutine was living and working at the country house of his patrons, Madeleine and Marcellin Castaing, pillars of the artistic community of Montparnasse who became intimate friends of many important avant-garde artists including Andreé Derain, Fernand Léger and Pablo Picasso. The Castaings had met Soutine in 1927 at the time of his first exhibition and, having admired his work, offered him protection and support after the death of his dealer in 1932. The stability and calm offered to Soutine at their home prompted the creation of more structured and solid compositions, a significant move away from his earlier landscapes painted at Céret, which were characterized by swirling, tempestuous compositions.

Vieille maison aux environs de Chartres is nevertheless animated by the energy of Soutine's brushwork and vibrant palette, and though classified as a work from the artist's "calmer" period, still exudes a sense of vitality and excitement. At this period in the early 1930s, Soutine now relied on depictions of single objects and their relationships to their surroundings, a demonstration of the process of simplification which his style had undergone since his early Céret works. "In some ways, Soutine travels full circle in these landscapes, reinvesting the energies that had animated the Céret pictures into an image that is now anchored with a more structured and 'traditional' armature. The energy is no longer equated with chaos and anarchy and compression but is directed and contained by readable forms in a definable space. There is the same rhythm that animates forms, the same dynamism permeating the whole, but the growing stress on clarity and recognizability, developing throughout his landscape oeuvre, now effects a reorganization and rechanneling of these sensations. Before, the paint and brushstroke abstractly generated metaphors of wind, atmosphere and storm; now Soutine is painting the wind actually hitting and passing through the tree" (ibid., p. 99).

The theme of the country home fascinated Soutine and has been explored in many of his paintings--"the specificity and repeated painting of the motif indicate its importance for Soutine. The country homes, painted at or around the estate of his patrons, were symbols of a way of life, culture, and status to which [Soutine] aspired. His acceptance by the Castaings represented a larger acceptance and favor by the French upper class. Such approval was no small matter to Soutine" (ibid., p. 98).

More from Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale

View All
View All