It’s been a while since I visited the exhibition dedicated to Soutine at Pinacothèque de Paris, where I had never been before. A strange place for a Pinacothèque, in my opinion, but I guess we Parisians will get used to it. Strange, because seen from outside, it looks more like some store than like an art exhibition. Actually, I’m wondering if it didn’t use to be a store like Hédiard. Anyway, the layout is also strange as the rooms are rather small, full of nooks and crannies, and you have to go up and down stairs quite a lot, part of the exhibition being in the basement.
I found the lighting peculiar too, as you always have to stand on the side of a painting, if you want to avoid unwanted reflections, which in the end has several persons standing on the right or on the left of a painting.
This said, I hope I haven’t turned you off the place, because I really loved this particular exhibition.
As I mentioned before, when I visited the Gustave Courbet retrospect, I am an almost complete ignoramus when it comes to art and painting, but since I’ve grown old, I am quite willing to amend my ways. I knew, of course, Soutine’s name, and could have placed him in the 20th centure, but had hardly seen any painting of his. In fact, I do remember seeing reproduction of his art when I was a school-girl but they didn’t impress me much as they were black and white! 😉
Now Soutine is anything BUT black and white. I loved the burst of colours and crazy shapes. Colours, shapes, movement, I really discovered a powerful artist and wouldn’t mind going back to see more and digest it. I don’t know whether it was me, but I kept spotting faces in all the paintings, not only in portraits, but in landscapes.
The commentaries on the exhibition walls makes a big deal of the fact that Chaim Soutine was Jewish, and characterized him as a typically Jewish artist, but apart from the fact that he WAS Jewish, I can’t see what is so very Jewish about him. I can see calling Chagall’s art Jewish, but Soutine! Well, again, I am rather ignorant at art, so I won’t say any more.
I went several times through the gallery.
I absolutely loved La Folle (the madwoman) and Cérêt, les grands arbres bleus, Le Violoncelliste
(the Cellist), and my favourite was definitely Mistral, Paysage avec figures, and unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a link to the painting.
The exhibition was prolonged till March 3rd, 2008, and if you get a chance, you should definitely visit it.
You can download the press release for the exhibition here
As I haven’t taken any photos, I thought you might like this slideshow I found on YouTube