Friday, October 31, 2014

Genius and Ambition: The Royal Academy of Arts, London

The Royal Academy of Arts announces the most significant touring exhibition of its Collection in its 246-year history. Genius and Ambition: The Royal Academy of Arts, London opened 2 March 2014 at Bendigo Art Gallery, Australia. 

Spanning 150 years of the Academy, the exhibition focuses on a key period of the RA Collection: the so-called ‘long nineteenth century’ from 1768-1918. Comprising 56 paintings, twenty drawings, nine prints, eight historic books, two photographs and two sculptures, the display will also tour to four venues in Japan, between August 2014 – April 2015.

Several works in the exhibition have never travelled outside of the UK before, including 

Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA’s Theory (1789-90), and

Sir Ernest Waterlow RA’s The Banks of the River Loing (1903) 

Further highlights of the exhibition include 

JMW Turner RA’s Dolbadern Castle (1800), 

John Constable RA’s Boat Passing a Lock (1826), 

Henry Fuseli RA’s Thor battering the Midgard Serpent (1790),

Thomas Gainsborough RA’s Romantic Landscape with sheep at a spring (c. 1783), 

John Singer Sargent RA’s Interior in Venice (1899) and 

John William Waterhouse RA’s A mermaid (1900). 

also in the exhibition:

Charles West Cope's 'The Council of the Royal Academy Selecting Pictures for the Exhibition, 1875' (1876) | © ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS, LONDON; PHOTOGRAPHER: JOHN HAMMOND

More images here


This exhibition has been organised by MaryAnne Stevens, former Director of Academic Affairs, Royal Academy of Arts; Helen Valentine, Curator of Paintings and Sculpture, Royal Academy of Arts; Karen Quinlan, Director, Bendigo Art Gallery, and Tansy Curtin, Curator, Bendigo Art Gallery.

Exhibition tour

Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art, Japan: 1 August – 27 August 2014
Tokyo Fuji Museum of Art, Japan: 7 October – 30 November 2014
Shizuoka City Museum of Art, Japan: 9 December 2014 – 25 January 2015 Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Nagoya, Japan: 3 February 2014 – 5 April 2015


A fully illustrated catalogue, with essays by Tansy Curtin, Nick Savage, MaryAnne Stevens, Helen Valentine and Annette Wickham, has been produced to accompany the exhibition tour. Delving into the history of the Academy and its Collections, from its foundation until the First World War, the publication covers the Academy’s complex role in the history of art and the teaching of art in Britain and abroad. In addition to in-depth explorations of the Royal Academy, the Royal Academy Schools and the RA Library, the book also assesses the importance of the Academy for Australian artists, who travelled to London to study and exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts. 

Giovanni Battista Moroni at the Royal Academy of Arts

This exhibition of outstanding works by Giovanni Battista Moroni (c.1520-1579), widely regarded as one of the greatest painters of the sixteenth century, will be the first comprehensive survey of his oeuvre to be held in the UK. 

In the autumn of 2014, the Royal Academy of Artsgathered a selection of over 40 works to present Moroni not only as a distinctive portraitist but also as a fine religious painter, a role for which he is lesser known. For the first time, a number of altarpieces from the churches of the Diocese of Bergamo, northern Italy, will be displayed alongside examples of Moroni’s portraiture, chronologically charting his rise to the summit of Italian sixteenth-century painting. From works influenced by Lotto and Moroni’s master Moretto, to later commissions earned as the leading painter of Bergamo, Giovanni Battista Moroni  offers viewers the chance to discover Moroni as an unsung genius of the Renaissance.

Moroni captured the exact likeness, character and inner life of his sitters with rare penetrating insight. His portraiture, singular not only for its unprecedented realism but also its psychological depth and immediacy, was in many ways ahead of his time. 

Preempting the work of Caravaggio, Moroni came to be widely collected in the nineteenth century, including 

Portrait of a Lady (c.1556-60) and 

A Knight with a Jousting Helmet (c.1556), purchased by the National Gallery, London, in 1876. 

Moroni’s portraits depict members of the society in which he lived, a cast of compelling Renaissance characters whose lives played out the feuds and family dramas of a pro-Spanish aristocracy living under the Republic of Venice in the mid-sixteenth century. With a selection to establish Moroni as one of the major specialists in the genre, his portraits reveal an enamel-like brightness, a clarity of design and a touch of realism which is in contrast to the adorned portraiture of his contemporary Titian.

Although Moroni’s name was linked to Bergamo, he also lived and worked in the nearby towns of Brescia, Trent and Albino. Working in a city without a leading court, Moroni’s sitters span a surprisingly wide social spectrum; his clientèle, unique at the time, comprised intellectuals, professionals, state officers and artisans. His famous portrait of The Tailor (1565-1570), one of the highlights of this exhibition, is the first known portrait of a man depicted whilst undertaking manual labour:

The Tailor, 1565-70. Oil on canvas, 99.5 x 77 cm. The National Gallery, London. Photo © The National Gallery, London

 In capturing the world around him, Moroni’s works also offer a vivid record of the fashions and fortunes of Bergamo, revealing changes in costume as the colourful silks of the portraits of Isotta Brembati (c.1555) and Gian Gerolamo Grumelli (c.1560):

Isotta Brembatic.1555. Oil on canvas, 160 x 115 cm. Fondazione Museo di Palazzo Moroni - Lucretia Moroni Collection, Bergamo. Photo Fondazione Museo di Palazzo Moroni - Lucretia Moroni Collection, Bergamo. Photography: Marco Mazzoleni.

Gian Gerolamo Grumellic. 1560. Oil on canvas, 216 x 123 cm. Fondazione Museo di Palazzo Moroni - Lucretia Moroni Collection, Bergamo. Photo Fondazione Museo di Palazzo Moroni - Lucretia Moroni Collection, Bergamo. Photography: Marco Mazzoleni. 

yield to the more sombre styles of the Spanish fashion, seen in the portrait of 

Pietro Secco Suardo (1563).

Moroni’s religious paintings were completed in accordance with the principles of the Counter- Reformation and the Council of Trent (1545-1563). In these, a worshipper is often depicted as a witness to the sacred scene, as demonstrated by 


The Last Supper (c.1566-1569). 

The pastoral visit of the religious reformer Cardinal Charles Borromeo to the Diocese of Bergamo in 1575 prompted the churches of the region to commission many new religious paintings, and Moroni as the leading painter produced several art works for public devotion, including the altarpiece painting Saint Gotthard Enthroned with Saint Lawrence and Saint Catherine of Alexandria (c.1575). 

The selection of Moroni’s religious works also includes examples of paintings intended for private devotion, such as A Gentleman in Adoration before the Baptism of Christ (c.1555-1560):

A Gentleman in Adoration before the Baptism of Christc.1555-60. Oil on canvas, 112.8 x 104 cm Gerolamo and Roberta Etro. Photo Gerolamo and Roberta Etro

The exhibition is a definitive survey of Moroni’s output and includes many of his greatest masterpieces. It eveals an artist who has perhaps gone unrecognised as an exceptional painter and a master of the Renaissance.

More images from the exhibition:

Young Ladyc.1560-65. Oil on canvas, 51 x 42 cm. Private collection. Photo Private collection

Gian Girolamo Albani, c.1570. Oil on canvas, 107 x 75 cm. Private Collection. Photo: Private collection

A not to be missed review


Giovanni Battista Moroni has been organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London. The exhibition has been curated by Simone Facchinetti, Curator of the Museo Adriano Bernareggi in Bergamo, and Arturo Galansino, Curator at the Royal Academy of Arts.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated and scholarly catalogue with contributions from Simone Facchinetti and Arturo Galansino. 

Paul Durand-Ruel: Le pari de l’impressionnisme (The Gamble on Impressionism)

From an excellent article in the Irish Times: (Read the whole thing, please!)

In one of the ironies of art history, the great French art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel “discovered” Impressionism in London in January 1871 because he, Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro had sought refuge there from the Franco-Prussian war…

With its muddy grass, grey but luminous sky and barely sketched, dark silhouetted figures, 

Monet’s Green Park, painted during his year of exile, still embodies London. Green Park is one of more than 90 works either owned or traded by Durand-Ruel that are on exhibition at the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris.

The same exhibition will travel to the National Gallery in London in March 2015, then to the Philadelphia Museum of Art from late June…

Back in Paris after the war, Monet and Pissarro introduced Durand-Ruel to Degas, Renoir and Sisley. “Durand-Ruel was a missionary,” Renoir said. “Fortunately for us, painting was his religion.”

“Without Durand, all of us Impressionists would have starved,” said Monet. “We owe him everything. He was stubborn, persistent. He risked bankruptcy many times to support us. The critics dragged us through the mud, but it was much worse for him! They wrote, ‘These artists are mad, but the dealer who buys them is more mad than they are’.”

Durand-Ruel was a monarchist and devout Catholic. Widowed at 40, he raised five children alone, and gambled everything on Impressionism. In a country politically polarised since the revolution, he was broadminded enough to support the communard Courbet, the anarchist Pissarro and the republican Manet.

Between 1891 and 1922, Durand-Ruel purchased some 12,000 paintings, including 1,500 Renoirs, 1,000 Monets, 800 Pissarros and 400 works by Degas, Sisley and Mary Cassatt. In January 1872, he purchased 23 paintings by Manet, the artist’s first significant sale…

Monet’s Woman Reading, or Spring, in which the painter’s wife, Camille, sits beneath a tree with her skirts spread around her, was shown in the 1876 exhibition. The painting was purchased by the American Impressionist Mary Cassatt and now belongs to the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. Emile Zola described it as a “portrait of a woman dressed in white, sitting in the shadow of foliage, luminous patches dappling her dress like drops of water”….

The exhibition at the Musée du Luxembourg will also go down in history, as a long overdue tribute to the man who broke the monopoly of the Académie des Beaux Arts and the official salon, and attained recognition for Impressionism. Without Durand-Ruel, the coherence of Impressionism as a movement might not have been appreciated…

It is fitting that the exhibition opens with portraits of Durand-Ruel and his five children by Renoir:

Pierre Auguste Renoir French, (1841–1919) The Daughters of Durand-Ruel, 1882. Oil on canvas

Charles and Georges Durand-Ruel

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919) Marie-Thérèse Durand-Ruel Sewing, 1882.

Durand-Ruel waited until he was 69 years old, successful and serene, before sitting for his portrait.

The exhibition closes with three exquisite dance paintings by Renoir: two from the Musée d’Orsay and one from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. They show Renoir at his best, as the painter of happiness. 

Dance at Bougival is one of the Boston Museum’s most prized paintings and is rarely loaned, so this is a rare chance to see his three variations on a theme, side by side.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Thomas Hart Benton In Story and Song

In conjunction with the Nashville Public Library’s city-wide celebration of beloved author Mark Twain, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts organized Thomas Hart Benton in Story and Song, presented  from Oct. 2, 2009 through Jan. 31, 2010. The exhibition features more than 80 works, including 20 drawings from each of the three illustration projects he completed to accompany Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Life on the Mississippi. The exhibition also featured prints, drawings, and paintings relating to Benton’s deep love of American vernacular music.

  • Thomas Hart Benton. Illustration for Life on the Mississippi, “If the fire would give him time to reach a sandbar,” 1944. Drawing and watercolors, 7 x 4 3/8 in. The State Historical Society of Missouri. © Benton Testamentary Trusts / UMB Bank Trustee /Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
The exhibition will be presented alongside Georgia O’Keeffe and Her Times: American Modernism from the Lane Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, comprising more than 50 works exploring the development of American Modernism through the eyes of a passionate collector.

“We thought these two exhibitions worked well together,” says Frist Center Chief Curator Mark Scala, “as they both look at America from different perspectives at a time when the country was moving from a rural, agricultural-based economy to one that was more urban and industrial.”

“By creating images that capture what he saw as the simplicity and dignity of everyday life in rural America, Benton strove to pay homage to his country’s people, history, and land,” says Katie Delmez, Curator. “While music was a tremendously significant part of his life and inspiration for his work, it’s surprising that, until now, the influence that music had on his work has not yet been fully explored.”

The Ballad of the Jealous Lover of Lone Green Valley by Thomas Hart Benton
The exhibition is divided into two sections. The first, “Thomas Hart Benton in Story” includes his delightful and lively illustrations of three of the most beloved works by Mark Twain, Benton’s favorite novelist. Like Twain, a fellow Missourian, Benton made his images with a raw, unvarnished tone, intending to present the quintessentially straightforward and unpretentious character of America. Although the two men were separated by a generation, their respective bodies of work were informed by their small-town, Midwestern upbringings.
The second section, “Thomas Hart Benton in Song,” includes works relating to his deep love of music. In addition to his talents as an artist, Benton was also a largely self-taught musician. Growing up, he listened to country music and was familiar with its artists and songs. As an adult, he began to play the harmonica and achieved enough proficiency to record an album (Saturday Night at Tom Benton’s, Decca 1931).
Benton often incorporated musicians and country ballads into his images. Several of the works in this section relate to specific songs, including

 Wreck of the Ole’ ’97,

a ballad recounting the 1893 fatal crash of a Southern Railway train.

Others, such as

The Music Lesson,

show the pleasure of sharing music among family and friends, as the artist so often did himself.
In 1975, the Country Music Foundation approached Benton to create a work based on the roots of country music. He began the project, The Sources of Country Music (on view at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum), in December of that year. In 1975, as he was putting the finishing touches on the work in his studio, Benton suffered a massive heart attack and died in front of the mural. During the years of development of the work, he submitted dozens of sketches to the foundation board for their comment and review, and ten of these works will be included in this exhibition.
Benton, who was born in Missouri in 1889 and died in 1975, is well known for his distinctive style and colorful palette. He enrolled in the Art Institute of Chicago in 1907 and later studied in Paris, where he met Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, who undoubtedly influenced Benton’s style and choice of subject matter. In his early years as an artist, he traveled from the art scene in Paris, to New York, to the rural South, and home to Missouri. In his travels, he became a keen observer of America’s working classes and also became aware of the distinction between urban and rural cultures that is often reflected in his work.

From a review by Anam Cara:

Thomas Hart Benton in Story and Song features drawings and watercolors the artist created for three books by Mark Twain, as well as paintings inspired by American Folk Music.  Benton was a part of the Regionalist movement that saw beauty in the ordinary men and women who populate ordinary towns and do ordinary things.
BentonThe exhibition highlights Benton's versatility.  Each of the books was illustrated in a slightly different medium.  For The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, the artist used pen and ink to create clean, sharp, black and white images that snap with the same vitality the rascally Tom was known for.  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, however, received a sepia wash "to evoke the muddy Mississippi River and the somber undertones of the book".  Finally, Twain's memoir, Life on the Mississippi, is rendered in eloquently subdued watercolors.
One of the most intriguing elements of this exhibit for me is a serious of studies for Thomas Hart Benton's last work; a large scale painting commissioned by the Country Music Hall of Fame here in Nashville, called "The Sources of Country Music" (above).  Sketches of individual characters followed by composition studies reveal the mind of the artist as he worked and reworked; positioned and repositioned.  Fascinating!

Related Work:

Alternately praised as “an American original” and lampooned as an arbiter of kitsch, the regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton has been the subject of myriad monographs and journal articles, remaining almost as controversial today as he was in his own time. Missing from this literature, however, is an understanding of the profound ways in which sound figures in the artist’s enterprises. Prolonged attention to the sonic realm yields rich insights into long-established narratives, corroborating some but challenging and complicating at least as many. A self-taught and frequently performing musician who invented a harmonica tablature notation system, Benton was also a collector, cataloguer, transcriber, and distributor of popular music. 

In Thomas Hart Benton and the American Sound, Leo Mazow shows that the artist’s musical imagery was part of a larger belief in the capacity of sound to register and convey meaning. In Benton’s pictorial universe, it is through sound that stories are told, opinions are voiced, experiences are preserved, and history is recorded.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cézanne and the Modern: Masterpieces of European Art from the Pearlman Collection + Chaim Soutine

Cézanne and the Modern: Masterpieces of European Art from the Pearlman Collection” is a major traveling exhibition organized by the Princeton University Art Museum. The works featured in the exhibition showcase the extraordinary vision of Henry Pearlman (1895-1974), a modest American entrepreneur who amassed an astonishing collection of modern art from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including perhaps the greatest collection of watercolors by Cézanne outside of France.
The Henry and Rose Pearlman Collection has resided at the Princeton University Art Museum since 1976, and this exhibition marks the first international tour of the entire collection since Pearlman’s death in 1974.

Exhibition Organization and Tour
“Cézanne and the Modern: Masterpieces of European Art from the Pearlman Collection” has been organized by the Princeton University Art Museum in cooperation with the Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation. The exhibition premiered at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford, Oxford, England (March 13–June 22, 2014), then traveled to the Musée Granet, Aix-en-Provence, France (July 11–Oct. 5, 2014) and to the High Museum of Art (Oct. 25, 2014–Jan. 11, 2015). Following its presentation at the High, the exhibition will be on view at Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada (Feb. 7–May 18, 2015), and the tour will culminate at Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, N.J. (Sept. 12, 2015–Jan. 3, 2016).
The exhibition is co-curated by the Princeton University Art Museum’s Betsy Rosasco, research curator of European painting and sculpture, and Laura Giles, Heather and Paul G. Haaga Jr., Class of 1970, curator of prints and drawings.

“Cézanne and the Modern” Exhibition Catalogue

A richly illustrated catalogue, published by the Princeton University Art Museum and distributed by Yale University Press, accompanies the exhibition and includes Henry Pearlman’s personal narrative “Reminiscences of a Collector”; a major essay by Rachael Z. DeLue, associate professor in the department of art and archaeology at Princeton University, which considers Pearlman’s collecting practices and milieu; a chronology of Pearlman’s life and the history of the collection; brief essays on each of the artists and their works in the exhibition by leading scholars in the field; and detailed information on each of the works, including the discoveries of new conservation and technical analyses undertaken specifically for the exhibition.

From a review by in the Oxonian Review by Emma-Victoria Farr:

This is the first European exhibition of the collection of Cézanne’s work formed by Henry and Rose Pearlman in North America after the Second World War. The Ashmolean has been closely involved with Princeton University Art Museum in putting together the exhibition, which will move on to Aix-en-Provence, Atlanta, and Vancouver, before returning to Princeton, where it is on long-term loan.
The Pearlman collection, however, comprises not only of works by Cézanne, but also paintings and sculptures by leading Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masters. It features fifty works by nineteen artists, ranging from Gustave Courbet to Jacques Lipchitz. Yet, at the heart of the collection remain the Cézannes: six oils, two drawings, and sixteen watercolours, which reflect Pearlman’s own taste wholeheartedly. 
The exhibition opens with a bright portrait of Henry Pearlman by Oskar Kokoschka from 1948, a few years after he started his art collection. (Rose Pearlman managed the collection from her husband’s death in 1974 until her own death in 1994). Pearlman sits commandingly in the foreground, almost enthroned in front of the painting’s riverside setting, as if to survey his surrounding collection. Immediately behind his portrait opens up a mesmerising room of watercolours, a feast for the eyes of gentle pastel hues.
 L.1988.62.32Paul Cézanne (1839–1906)Three Pears, c. 1888–90Watercolour, gouache, and graphite on cream laid paper24.2 x 31 cm

Three Pears (c. 1888-90), a still life watercolour, stands out. The pattern of the tablecloth Cézanne paints brings the composition to life, making the pears appear tangible. As Harrison describes it: “These are extremely sensuous pears” – and he has a point. Their delicate curves offer a sort of femininity one might expect to find in the depiction of a nude. In contrast, the watercolour Study of a Skull (1902-1904) shows a meditation on the fragility of life. He is portraying vanitas, conscious of his predecessors and their influence, and aware of his own ill health. The vibrancy of the skull outlined in pencil and watercolour makes the image even more menacing.

L.1988.62.47Paul Cézanne (1839–1906)Still Life with Carafe, Bottle, and Fruit, 1906Watercolour and soft graphite on pale buff wove paper48 x 62.5 cm
Another highlight in the watercolour room is Still Life with Carafe, Bottle and Fruit(1906). The bright shades of the fruit, juxtaposed with the dark tones of the centred wine bottle, and the clarity of the glass carafe, offer a marvellously vibrant composition of light and color..,

These other elements of the Pearlman collection complement the famous Cézanne oils of 

Paul Cézanne (1839–1906)Mont Sainte-Victoire, c.1902Oil on canvas83.8 x 65.1 cm

Mont Sainte-Victoire (c. 1902) (above)  and 

Cistern in the Park of the Château Noir (c. 1900) as well as show his independence in what works he bought.
Nonetheless, the exhibition’s winning feature lies in its watercolours. These gentle sketches with soft pastel colours remain the sparkling jewel in its crown. Their effect both individually and in combination leaves the viewer with a lasting impression of great richness...

High to Showcase Five Soutine Portraits with Fall 2014 Cézanne Exhibition

In conjunction with “Cézanne and the Modern: Masterpieces of European Art from the Pearlman Collection,” the High Museum of Art will present five portraits by the acclaimed Expressionist painter Chaïm Soutine (French, born Lithuania, 1893-1943), on view Oct. 25, 2014 through Jan. 11, 2015.
These paintings, a generous loan from the Lewis Collection, are superb examples of the nearly 200 portraits that Soutine created throughout his career. The portraits join seven other works by Soutine that will be on view as part of the “Cézanne and the Modern” exhibition, and together they mark the greatest number of works by Soutine ever to be on view at the High. The portraits will complement 50 Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works by such artists as Cézanne, van Gogh, Modigliani, Degas, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec and others.
The five portraits by Soutine from the Lewis Collection featured in the presentation include:

  • “Le paysan” (“The Peasant”) (c. 1919-20) – This painting of a bust-length figure, identified only as a peasant, shows the sitter standing at a slight angle. His ruddy face is a symphony of yellows and reds against a painterly background of green.

  • “Le garçon en bleu” (“The Boy in Blue”) (1924) – In this portrait, the sitter’s hat frames his head like a halo in a medieval altarpiece. A colorful mass of paint resolves itself as the sitter’s clasped hands.

  • “Le petit pâtissier” (“The Little Pastry Chef”) (c. 1927) – Soutine was fascinated by people in uniform, and he painted multiple portraits of people who worked in uniformed professions. In this touching portrait, the artist captured the mannerisms of a young pastry boy, from the slight tilt of his head to his apprehensive expression and melancholy, searching eyes.

  • “Portrait d’une jeune fille (Fille en blouse bleu)” [“Portrait of a young girl (Girl in Blue Blouse)”] (c. 1937) – In this half-length portrait, Soutine has captured the uncertain profile of a young girl, peering nervously upward, clutching a book to her chest.

  • “Portrait du garçon en bleu” (“Portrait of a Boy in Blue”) (c. 1928) – In the 1920s Soutine alternated between painting still-life and portraits. Like the other four paintings in this small group, the sitter is unidentified, a young boy who is portrayed in a relaxed pose with his hands clasped in his lap.

About Chaïm Soutine

Chaïm Soutine (1893-1943) was born into a poor family in Smilovitchi, Lithuania, and grew up as the tenth of 11 children in an Orthodox Jewish village, or shtetlConcerned about idolatry, the shtetl community was suspicious of image making, and so for Soutine, making art was an act of rebellion. At around age 16, Soutine asked a religiously observant man in his community to pose for a portrait. In response, the man’s son and his friends beat Soutine. They were later forced to compensate Soutine for the damage, and the artist used the money to pay for his first art lessons. Soutine later continued his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vilna, and after graduating, moved to Paris, where he enrolled at the École des Beaux Arts. During this time, he befriended fellow artists Jacques Lipchitz and Amedeo Modigliani.

Critics and collectors saw Soutine as the artistic successor to Cézanne. Like the older artist, Soutine avoided traditional forms of perspective, especially in his landscapes. The trees and buildings are tipped upward, offering a disorienting view that borders on abstraction. However Soutine’s energetic application of paint stood in contrast to the work of his predecessors. He took advantage of the three-dimensional quality of oil paint, sculpting it on the surface of the canvas in thick strands. No evidence exists that Soutine ever made preparatory sketches, and acquaintances reported that he plotted his compositions directly on the canvases, painting them quickly and spontaneously with brushes, palette knives, and his fingers. 

Soutine was relatively unknown until the American collector Dr. Albert Barnes traveled to Paris in 1922 and purchased 52 of his paintings. Although Soutine did not achieve success overnight, his reputation was sealed, and his work sold well for the rest of his life. Soutine’s painting style influenced some of the most important painters of the 20th century, from the Abstract Expressionists working in New York to British painters like Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud.

More images from the exhibition:

Vincent van Gogh’s “Tarascon Stagecoach” (1888)  is included in the High Museum of Art exhibit “Cézanne and the Modern: Masterpieces of European Art From the Pearlman Collection” 

Edouard Manet, Young Woman in a Round Hat, c. 1877–79

Portrait of Jean Cocteau - Amedeo Modigliani