Soutine à la Pinacothèque de Paris


Pinacothèque de ParisIt’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


10 thoughts on “Soutine à la Pinacothèque de Paris

  1. Not related to your post, but I wanted to wish you a bonne fête! “A la saint-Claude regarde ton seau, tu ne le verras pas plus haut.” Does that mean it rains a lot in the middle of February??

  2. What marvelous paintings. Most of them I had never seen (not much time spent on Soutine in my art history courses) and they are wonderful, especially those of people, but then I like the landscapes too. Makes me want to know more about his life and how he experienced those years of war and between the wars — there is a poignancy there that makes me think of the times. And I also found myself thinking of Edith Piaf…???

  3. Merci for the introduction to the Pinacothèque de Paris,which I will definitely visit on my next trip to Paris. Like Jospehine Baker, I have two loves: Paris is one. The love affair began in the 1950’s when I arrived a “callow youth” and stayed for four years. Since that first sojourn, I have returned regularly to walk the quai, vist la Musee D’Orsay and dine in the bistros around Notre Dame. Almost all of my old Parisian friends have passed on and I’ll pass a place where we used to meet and shed a silent tear but la vie continues and in a few months I’ll go to Pinacothèque de Paris.
    Merci encore Claude.

  4. Are these considered to be a complete collection of his works? I have seen an oil on canvas entitled “Paris” and it is not among these in the slide show. If the work isn’t authentic, it certainly appears to be.

    Thank you for the wonderful shots of his work.
    Thanks, Dan

  5. @ Dan Hixson, no, they are certainly not a complete collection of his works. They have been lent by varied museums and private collectors.
    And I didn’t take any of these shots. I’m just posting them here.

  6. Claude, Is there any relationship between “Chaim” Soutine and “M.” Soutine (French)? When I google “M” Everything comes up “Chaim.” If they are different, any info on “M.?”

    Thanks for your insight.

  7. Dan, I just looked it up on Google, it seems that M. Soutine has written something about Soutine, I think that Chaim Soutine is definitely the painter and artist and honestly, I am no expert, so you’d have to get to more reliable sources to get to the truth 😉

  8. Claude:

    I’m making my first trip to France in May, with a Saturday night through Wednesday morning stay in Paris. Our trip organizer suggested we get tickets to see the Terracotta Warriors at the Pinacotheque. With only a three day visit, would you recommend this place as a must-see? Or should I concentrate my efforts elsewhere?


  9. @ Laura, with a three day trip to Paris, I would think there are museums that are more interesting and more indispensable than the Pinacothèque, but then I haven’t seen the Terracotta Warriors yet !
    Are Le Louvre or Musée Rodin or Musée d’Art Moderne on your agenda?
    The Pinacothèque has interesting exhibitions, but the building is of no interest whatsoever.
    Now of course the Terracotta Warriors must be a great exhibition. I really don’t know what to say.

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