Chaim Soutine was born near a town near Minsk, which is Belarus in the present day. Chaim Soutine was the 10th of the 11 children, and his father was a tailor. He grew up under extremely modest means, and it was like a typical Russian-born Jews during that period. They were forced to go through discrimination from a hostile government. Soutine’s interest in drawing developed because of the Talmudic proscriptions images. Soutine moved to Minsk, and there he continued his studies at the Vilna Academy of fine arts. It was one of the few institutions in that time where Jews were accepted. There he was exposed to the Old Russian masters and avant-garde Russian. Soutine started painting and drawing from a very early age. The instructors in the academy noticed that the work Soutine’s was mostly on the dark subject matter.
Early training of Soutine
After training at Vilna, Soutine traveled to Paris with his students and enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. There he worked for two years in Fernand Cormon, who was a highly respected historical painter at that period. Soutine also frequently visited the studio of many famous artists of that time. The paintings of Rembrandt van Rijn made a huge impact on the young artist and loved the master’s use of light, still life, and portraiture. Later Soutine made few trips to Amsterdam, and there he used to sleep on the park bench of Rijksmuseum to spend more time at the museum.
In 1915, Soutine met Amedeo Modigliani, who was an Italian-Jewish artist. Modigliani had a big impact on Soutine’s career. Soutine was very shy with both women and men, and his high temper further complicated his social life and career. But his friendship with Modigliani helped him to tackle difficulties. Modigliani was very impressed by the work of Soutine, and soon he introduced Soutine to his dealer, who immediately agreed to work for Soutine.
Soutine chose to bring a more traditional approach by sharpening his skills as a painter of still life. Soutine was obsessed with food. He repeatedly uses fish, beef, and other animate as a subject matter in his work over few decades. According to some, Soutine was obsessed with death. Due to World War I, Soutine returned to Paris, where he started producing many portraits of local people and laborers like boot polishers, maids, cooks, and most of them were random people. In the 1920s, Soutine gave his all-time in landscape painting and natural scenes.
The 1920s was the most productive time of Soutine‘s career. In 1923 his artworks were exhibited in an art gallery of Paul Guillaume, an art dealer. There, an American collector Albert, C. Barnes was impressed by the Pastry cook. Later he purchased a bulk of Soutine‘s works. After that, Soutine got financial stability for the rest of his life. Soutine also got great support from some wealthy French collectors.
Late period and death of Soutine
During World War II, Soutine lived with his nurse-maid and companion Greda, a Jewish-German. Grenada was removed for the German nationals in 1940 when the Nazis came to France. Later that year, Soutine was romantically involved with Marie-Berthe Aurenche, and she remained his mistress until Soutine‘s death. When the Nazis came to Paris in 1940, Soutine left his home in Paris because of the fear of being captured. He moved places to places with fake passports, and he lived like a hunted man. Soutine died on august 9th, 1943, due to a perforated ulcer.