René Magritte (1898-1967)
PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF VIVIAN S. SCHULTEVivian and Arthur Schulte held a lifelong love of art and music that they shared together from the date of their marriage in 1955. They traveled frequently to Europe in the 1950s-1970s, often by ship, and would make the acquisition of new works of art the centerpiece of their trips, with an eye to filling their New York apartment and Palm Beach and Connecticut homes with art they loved and with which they wanted to live. Vivian and Arthur treasured these acquisitions–including works by Leger, Matisse, de Staël, Utrillo–as the “most valuable” of objects in their lives–regardless of whether they were from known or unknown artists.Vivian and Arthur continued the fine art collecting begun by Arthur's mother, Harriet Harris Jonas, a renowned collector of painting, sculpture and decorative arts primarily from Byzantine, Renaissance and Impressionist periods. Mrs. Jonas’s art acquisitions began during the early 20th century at the time of her marriage to industrialist and business owner, David A. Schulte, and continued during her subsequent marriage to Parisian art dealer and member of the French Parliament, Édouard Jonas, in the 1930s and 1940s. Mrs. Jonas’s art collection was so extensive that the Metropolitan Museum often arranged for patrons to visit her apartment across the street from the museum at 998 Fifth Avenue. Many of these paintings comprise the artwork owned by Vivian and Arthur Schulte and which adorned the walls of their residences. Vivian accomplished much in her life–all the while creating a wonderful home for her extended family. She obtained a PhD in Nutrition from New York University, and in 1941 she became Food Consultant and Lecturer for L. Bamberger and Co. in Newark and conducted a radio program on nutrition for WOR during World War II to help homemakers make the most of available foods. She conducted classes in nutrition and food preservation in Newark under the auspices of the American Red Cross. She also served as Food and Home Editor for Fawcett, Hearst and Curtis Publications. Vivian won the American Dairy Association Award for distinguished food journalism and was a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier. In her later years, Vivian was most proud of her poetry, for which she won numerous awards and was recognized in various publications.When Vivian was not spending time in tennis whites pursuing her competitive passion on the court, she was extending her involvement and generosity as an avid patron of the arts. She could be found at music festivals both in the United States or Europe, a regular patron at the Metropolitan Opera–and Tanglewood, picnicking at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera outside London, and traveling to the Salzburg Music Festival or the Vienna Opera House. She supported the careers of numerous opera sopranos and concert pianists and often held recitals in her Fifth Avenue apartment amidst her treasured artworks. Many of these works of art are now being shown outside of private ownership by a single family for the first time in nearly 100 years. Christie's is honored to be offering the following works in our Impressionist and Modern Art Evening sale on May 12th and Impressionist and Modern Works on Paper and Day sales on May 13th. Peter M. SchultePROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF VIVIAN S. SCHULTE
Chaim Soutine (1893-1943)

La Polonaise

Chaim Soutine (1893-1943)
La Polonaise
signed 'Soutine' (lower right)
oil on canvas
19 5/8 x 17 ½ in. (49.9 x 44.5 cm.)
Painted circa 1928
Jos. Hessel, Paris.
Sam Salz, Inc., New York.
Harriet Harris Jonas, New York (acquired from the above, by 1950).
By descent from the above to the late owner.
P. Courthion, Soutine: Peintre du déchirant, Lausanne, 1972, p. 261, no. D (illustrated).
New York, The Museum of Modern Art and Cleveland Museum of Art, Soutine, October 1950-March 1951, pp. 92 and 113 (illustrated, p. 96).
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Chaim Soutine, summer 1968, pp. 54 and 148, no. 78 (illustrated, p. 131; titled Portrait of a Young Woman).
New York, Marlborough Gallery, Inc., Chaim Soutine, October-November 1973, p. 15, no. 72 (illustrated, p. 88; titled Portrait of a Young Woman).
Sale room notice
Please note this work was painted circa 1928.

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Brooke Lampley
Brooke Lampley

Lot Essay

This painting will be included in the forthcoming third volume of the Chaïm Soutine catalogue raisonné currently being prepared by Maurice Tuchman and Esti Dunow.

Against a midnight blue ground, a russet-haired young woman–her identity unknown to us today, but her individuality here powerfully expressed–rests one cheek on her palm in a posture of weariness or resignation. She is engrossed in her own thoughts, her eyes downcast and averted; her ruddy skin and large hands betray a lifetime of hard work, and her narrow, sloping shoulders seem to dissolve into the encompassing depths. Yet her face bears evidence of hopes and passions that her meager life circumstances–she was most likely a maid in a bourgeois home–have not managed to quash. Her lips are full and sensuous, and her right eyebrow arches in a subtle show of self-assurance or even bravado; her plain white blouse dips to reveal a graceful collarbone. “These ‘subdued’ figures all have an inner life, an internal rumble: a certain feverish pulse and anxious stirring under the surface,” Esti Dunow has written. “The quiet of the faces does not create harmony, but reveals some undercurrent of tension” (An Expressionist in Paris: The Paintings of Chaim Soutine, exh. cat., The Jewish Museum, New York, 1998, p. 142).
Soutine painted this understated yet powerfully affecting portrait circa 1935, very likely during one of several consecutive summers that he spent near Chartres at the home of his patrons Madeleine and Marcellin Castaing. Fervent admirers of the artist, the Castaings devoted themselves single-mindedly during these sojourns to supporting his work. They searched high and low for old canvases for him to use, helped to convince the local inhabitants to pose, and on occasion restrained him from destroying paintings that suddenly provoked his wrathful disapproval. “Soutine was not an easy guest, moody, solitary, demanding, subject to fits of anger, plagued by weeks of being unable to paint, then total absorption in his work,” Billy Klüver and Julie Martin have written. “But their commitment to the painter was total” (ibid., p. 108).
During the latter half of the 1920s, Soutine’s main models had been the valets, bell-hops, and waiters who served the fashionable echelons of Parisian society as they reveled in the nightlife of this prosperous era. Now, with the Depression well underway worldwide, he painted domestic servants instead–maids, cleaning girls, cooks, and laundresses, clad in simple household garb rather than the fancy-dress uniforms of figures on public display. Although the tempo of Soutine’s painting slowed down during these years, becoming quieter and more meditative, the intensity of his engagement with his anonymous sitters never flagged. In the present La Polonaise, the figure is seen close-up, pressed against the picture plane, all sense of physical distance obliterated; on the surface of the canvas, we can follow the movement of Soutine’s heavily loaded brush, as he constructs the angle of her cheek and jaw, the shadow beside her nose, or the swoop of her hair.
“His canvases rivet the viewer with their convincing physical presence and their kinetically charged substance, which embody the fervid inner need that compelled the artist to paint them,” Dunow and Maurice Tuchman have concluded. “Soutine’s intense observation of the visual world, and his impassioned identification with it, all set in motion by peculiar intensity and obsessiveness, enabled him to attain a state of expressionistic exaltation that was exceptional and unprecedented in his day” (Chaim Soutine, exh. cat., Galerie Thomas, Munich, 2009, p. 9).

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