A madman and a genius. Twelve facts about Chaim Soutine.
Why Soutine was embarrassed by the village of Smilovichi.
For a long time at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, where several canvases of the tailor’s son from Smilovichi are kept, it was said that Chaim Soutin was from Lithuania. Now this error has been corrected, both in the museum and on the museum’s website. But since the Metropolitan is an institution authoritative, the mistake went to the masses. Where did the myth about Lithuania come from, where Soutine did not live long? The artist himself gave birth to him. This story reminds communication of some Belarusians with foreigners: “Where are you from?” – “From Belarus” – “Where is it?” – “From Russia” – “It is clear.” The word Smilovichi to Parisians was not clear, and Vilnius – is familiar. The shy provincial thus reduced the number of questions about his place of birth.
As Soutine went to Vilna.
In his childhood, Soutine stole cutlery from his house and traded them on the street for chalk and other art nonsense unnecessary for a poor family. For this they closed it in the dark. Maybe these punishments and darkness formed the tenth son of Chaim (there were 13 people in the family) in the famous artist Chaim Soutine? Only psychologists can understand this. Soon the parents let Haim work in Minsk as an assistant photographer in one of the photo-studios. But in Minsk, Soutine did not live long. After he painted a portrait of a rabbi, which is in principle forbidden, the son of a rabbi, a butcher, went into a rage and beat Chaim so that he got to the hospital. By decision of the court, Haim Sutin received 25 rubles as compensation for personal injuries. This was quite enough to leave Minsk to Vilna, become an assistant lawyer and start studying at an art school.
What is a “Beehive”
Chaim Soutine. Self-portrait.
On the south-western outskirts of Paris was a strange place, owned by Alfred Boucher. He owned a half-hectare of land with a three-story rotunda built on it. He bought this building with the sale of the famous World Exhibition in 1900 (the same exhibition during which the metro began to operate in Paris, the Alexander III bridge and the Lyons Railway Station were built). Designed by Gustave Eiffel this building first as a pavilion of Bordeaux wines. Instead of wine cellars, Alfred opened 140 studio studios in the “Hive” and began to take them to novice artists and writers for a month for a mere penny equal to two inexpensive dinners in a cheap eatery. Here lived Leger, Modigliani, Chagall, Flint, Apollinaire, Jacob and our friend, Chaim Soutine. “Beehive” exists and now, it remained a residential complex. Soutine spent about seven or eight years at the Hive. Here he found friends and like-minded people, here he was starving and looking for a livelihood, painted his bull carcasses and herrings. Because of acute need, he arranged to work as a loader, decorator, unskilled laborer, a model, but he was expelled from all directions for incapacity for work.
As Soutine wrote herring.
At one time Chaim lived with the artist Talov in one workshop. He could never forget how Chaim painted with him a still life with herrings: “Before eating the food brought from the store, he took on a still life and was tormented, torn by hunger, devouring her only with his eyes, not allowing himself to be touched until will finish the work. He became demoniac, drooling in his mind at the thought of the upcoming “royal dinner”. In general, the “Beehive” under Soutine suffered from unbearable odors. Chaim was justified by the fact that Rembrandt himself liked to paint bull carcasses. Of course, many may accuse Haim of perversity, but in the case of Soutine everything was just the opposite: a refreshed and crucified bull carcass became for him a symbol of innocent and violent death, this motif appeared more than once in his paintings. It seems that these are all echoes of childhood, which he also confirmed himself: as a young boy he saw a neighbor’s butcher chopping off a cock’s head. He remembered that he wanted to scream, and he could not. Later he said that he wrote all his works to release, at last, the same scream that was stuck in the throat of horror.
Why Soutine attracted slaughterhouses.
Chaim Soutine. Carcass of a bull. 1924 year.
The “Beehive” was not far from the famous Parisian slaughterhouses. Chaim Soutine climbed onto the roof and watched as workers drag the supporting animals into a certain room, from which then they take out huge bloody carcasses. At that time, Soutine shared a workshop with the sculptor Zadkin. He noticed a strange infatuation for a friend and took him to Picasso, a passionate connoisseur of Spanish bull fights. Chaim was in shock, he even could not imagine that a man and a bull can catch on equal footing. After the stories of Picasso, Soutine decided that if he could not become an artist, he would necessarily become a toreador. Although in some cases he still said that he would become a boxer.
Why Soutine painted naked.
Once Khaim sat with Osip Tsadkin (later Tsadkin wrote memoirs about Soutine, according to which it can be assumed that he was the one who formed the whole party and friends around the uninhabited Soutine) in a coffee house in Montmartre, met drunk Amedeo Modigliani. He wanted to see the work of the “new” for Paris Soutine. And soon the drunken and cheerful Tsadkin and Modigliani fell into the cellar of Soutine and froze in amazement. Soutine stood naked in front of the canvas and looked lovingly at him, as if it were a girl. Then he carefully took the brush and applied two or three strong and even strokes to the surface of the canvas. It seemed as if a stream of blood had fallen on the canvas. Mody was so impressed that he shouted. Chaim marked the contours of the human body around the “wound” and placed on his head something awkward, like a cylinder, which in a moment turned into a white hood of the cook.
Modi could not resist: “You need a girl, Chaim, otherwise you’ll be lost!” By the way, Sotin always painted naked. Not because the exhibitionist, but because there was no money for clothes. Therefore, during the work, he took off his things so that they would not wear out.
For which the wives of artists did not like Soutine.
After that story Modigliani brought Chaim to his studio, drew his portrait and suggested moving from the basement to his friend Leopold Zborovsky, who sold Modigliani’s paintings. The friend was not against and in the following years began to sell also works of Soutine. Zborovsky’s wife was furious with Chaim’s presence and forbade him to be brought into the house. In retaliation Modigliani painted a portrait of Soutine directly on the door of her apartment. Chaim became a legendary person among the inhabitants of Montparnasse precisely because of this door. His portrait was tried to get rid of, but in vain, and, in the end, the door was removed from the hinges and put up for sale. It was bought by some crazy manufacturer, amateur post-impressionist Lucien Map. And ten years later he sold: it cost a thousand times more. The new owner of the door was an Arab sheik.
Who stripped Soutine of virginity.
Chaim Soutine with a model.
Thanks to the generous soul of Modigliani, Chaim was posed by lovely models. Mostly they were: Lunia Chekovskaya, Beatrice Hastings (the famous tamer of drunken artists and the eccentric mademoiselle of her era) and a flower saleswoman from Pigal Square named Ruth. The latter was fat and looked forty years older than Soutine. Her Chaim loved especially. Apparently, because she looked like women from his childhood and joked incessantly, pereinachivaya every innocent expression in obscenity. In Paris there were rumors that it was Ruth who deprived Haim of innocence. There were also rumors that Soutine was a lunatic.
Modi once locked the model Paulette with Chaim in the basement, slipping a palette with paints and three pieces of cardboard, one of which read: “Either draw or make love.” Poor Soutine, full of embarrassment, immediately lay down on the sofa and fell asleep.
But at night he woke Paulette, told her to undress, undressed himself … and they began to dance. They danced almost in total darkness, without a single sound. Paulette told me that she thought that Chaim was asleep.
How Soutine taught Coco Chanel.
Freaky Coco Chanel always wanted to do things his own way. Even in the Paris-occupied Paris at Christmas, she decided to stir up the holiday with a grand scale, wealth and luxury. The idea was to have fun for a few days and walk from guests to guests, without delaying at every hour. In this there was something competitive: which of the hosts would surprise Coco more by its originality. When the color of Parisian bohemia reached the house of Chaim Soutine, the fun ended. The devilish company burst in and froze: through the twilight (the house was lit only a couple of candles), the guests saw a strange picture. At the table sat their own servants, whom Chaim had drawn earlier. Maidservants, dusty bakers, hardened old women in crumpled aprons, cooks. As the only treat on the table stood the luxurious red gladioli. Among the servants sat the master of the house and smiled. Despite the fame and solo exhibitions in the New World and Paris, Sutin was still more accustomed to being with the representatives of the Parisian bottom.
How to Soutine glory came.
Chaim Soutine. Naked. 1933 year.
In the 1920s, images of huge bloody carcasses brought Sutin an unexpected confession. Haim himself did not really understand what was happening. His paintings began to sell well thanks to American collectors. He started his own studio on Clem Square, from where he had an amazing view of the Seine. He reminded him of the view of the Dvina. Someone is enjoying the laurels of glory, but Soutine began to fight it.
If some people at home raise their pets, Chaim kept old women at home. Gossiping filled Paris: some said that he was sleeping with them, others – that he only wrote them.
Chaim often rewrote his paintings, being in a constant state of dissatisfaction and striving for the ideal. It came to the point that he bought out his already sold work from the owners and, either finalized them, or completely destroyed them. For this reason, almost no remains of his early work. During the war, in order to somehow hide his paintings from the Nazis, Soutine distributed them to ordinary farmers. And this was not his eccentricity. The Nazis really hunted for his paintings. In 1942, the German Embassy in France asked the French authorities to find Soutine and confiscate his work.
How Soutine died.
His death occurred in the spirit of the dark stories of Edgar Allan Poe. Due to poor nutrition, the artist had a stomach ulcer. Once during the occupation, it escalated. It took an urgent operation. Chaim was taken in a roundabout way from Normandy to Paris by a surgeon who agreed, contrary to the authorities’ prohibitions, to make the operation a Jew. He died of peritonitis in August 1943, when he, dying, was secretly transported to Paris, hiding in a funeral catafalque. Soutine was buried in Paris on false documents in the cemetery of Montparnasse.
How much are the paintings of Soutine.
The grand nephew of Chaim Soutine, Kenneth Groger is an American who teaches English at a Japanese university. He travels around the world and bit by bit collects the story of his famous and mysterious ancestor: “I call it a treasure hunt, I lead them both in France and in Lithuania. But I save the details for my film. ”
Kenneth has a dream – to make a Hollywood film about Soutine, where DiCaprio would play the main role.
The work of Haim Soutine is becoming more expensive every year. They are valued on a par with the paintings of Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet. Not long ago, the canvas “Little Confectioner” went under the hammer for $ 18 million and set a world record for the cost of the artist’s works. In 1977, this picture was sold for $ 180,000, that is, in just three and a half decades the value of the work of Chaim Soutine increased by a hundred times. You can talk a lot about the topic like it or we do not like his work. As if choosing food. Such names as Soutine, Chagall, Malevich are the keys with which we, Belarusians, can fit ourselves into the global context.
“The whole village said that we shoot porn, and blackmailed us with a court”
A madman and a genius. Twelve facts about Chaim Soutine.