Thursday, December 18, 2008

Melanie


I love, love this quirky piece, Melanie, the School Teacher, 1922, by
Chaim Soutine, part of the collection at my local Columbus Museum
of Art. A postcard of the painting is on my kitchen blackboard. She's
perfect for the holidays, with cheery colors and a sweet "Whovillian"
little smile. The artist Soutine was born in Russia and grew up in a
Lithuanian Jewish ghetto where he encountered community
opposition for his propensity for drawing images which violated
Talmudic law. He arrived in Paris in 1913, where he initially lived in
desperate poverty. In 1915 he met Modigliani, with whom he
developed a close friendship. His work was loosely connected with the
Parisian mainstream, but owes much of his work to Fauvism and
Expressionism. His financial condition improved suddenly after 1923,
through growing patronage, and he became well known for his works
of distorted images and intense colors.


Soutine by Modigliani, 1916

56 comments:

  1. Another painting I would gladly own! Love the rich colours and the exaggerated features. She has a somewhat cartoonish quality as a result, don't you think?

    Kat

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  2. Yes! A very Seussical look.

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  3. Thanks for the art lesson. You've introduced me to yet another unknown-to-me artist.

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  4. I have this postcard on my desk next to Sofonisba Anguissola's self portrait as an Old Women and William H Johnson. Would it not be great to have a tree decorated with all this masters?

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  5. I love the simpleness of the second piece, Earth colors and peasant-like, quaint style, thanks for the intro.

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  6. That's a great painting by Modigliani as well. It was also nice to be reminded of the Columbus Museum of Art too. I haven't been there in a long time, not since before my father died and my brother had arranged a for a one night exhibit of his work and reception. This was about nine months after he had had a heart attack during surgery. But many of his former art students came and he was totally in his element that night. While the event was a semi private affair, many people who were just visiting the museum came into the area where his work was hung and talked with him. There was a high school art class going through the museum that came by and were very excited about being able to "meet the artist." Dad immediately fell into his "teacher" mode and gave them a mini art lesson right there. He couldn't have been more delighted. Thank you for calling up that memory.

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  7. That was an exciting period in art history with so many cross-currents
    enabled by the melting pot of cutures created by famine, persecution and war. Paris was a great a centre at that time as Italy during the renaissance.

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  8. The Grandpa, I enjoyed hearing about that memory, too. Thanks for sharing it with us! I would also enjoy seeing some of your father's work.

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  9. Thank you, Willow! I wasn't familiar with this artist. I think it must be something in the air this time of year. I, too, have been drawn to Russian artists for the last week or so. I'm starting my day with a smile!

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  10. It's almost Lucien Freud; wonderful, and this particular image, a delight. Thank you for the introduction, (to me).

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  11. Love the paintings. Though the second one is my favorite. I am a stay at home mom and she looks like she understands me. :)

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  12. I think my third grade teacher looked like her. Except she never smiled.

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  13. Have you seen the movie about Modigliani with Andy Garcia? Very well done, IMO.

    Very nice seeing an art post over here at the manor this AM...

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  14. Thank you for this, I love both paintings. And thank you for the richness and variety of your lovely blog. It gives me a taste of the culture I crave but have so little time to explore these days.

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  15. This is so interesting. I see what you mean about the Seussical look too - I have distant memories of the Cat in the Hat - one about cat-ring in the bath seems to strike a chord! (Melanie also has a very long neck!!!)
    Thought I'd let you know I've put your blog on the 'First Class Blogs I like to read' list I've just installed on mine - it's one of my favourites! Thanks, Willow.

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  16. It's really the hands, the strength that comes through, and the restlessness. What a portrait are hands! Look at our own, therein lies the story. Also the vibrancy of the colors give Melanie a three dimensional feeling.
    Soutine himself, what a sweet face, he sees himself as peaceful, must have been. His hands...ready to get started!
    Lyn

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  17. I think that 'quirky' is the term that befits this piece most likely. Thank you very much indeed.

    Greetings from London.

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  18. Ooooh, I love that painting, too! And I love Modigliani's portrait of Soutine. (Didn't I read once that Modigliani's vision was distorted, hence his elongated figures?) Anyway,perhaps Soutine had the same condition! What a fabulous image.

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  19. That painting of Soutine by Modigliana really shows him as a very attractive man. Reminds me of my Mr French Fancy -I love that look :)

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  20. of course my 'a' at the end of Modigliani was my usual typo - I've got so careless.

    willow - you've got nearly 600 followers!!! What a lovely Christmas present.

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  21. It's fun to look at pictures like that and imagine the influences, I can see everything from Goya to P. Buckley Moss in that one.

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  22. Melanie looks exactly like Miss Fogg (“Miss Frog” to us kids—outside of her hearing, of course), my 3rd grade teacher.

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  24. Wow - Chaim Soutine is one of my favorite painters. Bob Dylan called him 'the Jimmy Reed' of painters.
    Catherine

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  25. Soutine looks like the writer Fran Lebowitz

    And my doesnt the other have BIG hands!

    :-Daryl

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  26. Hi...
    I love Soutine... wish I had a book of his work. I've seen a few of his works at the Portland Art Museum (Oregon) a few years back. The Pastry Chef was one of them. It was huge... a very tall rectangle, full body portrait. Love his bright colors and quirky, unclear expressions. For me, he seems to capture a momentary expression of someone but at the same time... the essence of them.

    Great post!
    ~Brenda

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  27. One of my favorites painters.

    The cabbage recipe was a big hit and now a family favorite!

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  28. soutine- glad to know about this artist- appealing style like shelle - sort of tortured individuals- warped with time and difficult lives.

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  29. Willow,
    I do like black and red combos.
    I like my women more Rubenesque rather than Whovillian. ;-)
    rel

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  30. Rebecca, yes, I love the movie with Andy Garcia. He does a wonderful job portraying Modigliani.

    Blue Sky, I'm so glad you enjoyed the cabbage dish! It's going to be a regular here, too.

    Rel, you and WT, too! He even uses the term Rubenesque. And it's a good thing, because I lean ever so slightly to the Rubenesque.

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  31. Clapping Hands, "The Jimmy Reed of Painters"?! I like that.

    Mr. Neckmann, thank you~! :)

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  32. I love the painting of Soutine. Never seen that before. His work is quite unusual, Soutine's I mean. Thanks for the info and background on him.

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  33. Love love love Modigliani. Thanks for the introduction to Soutine. You can see some of M's influence in his work.

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  34. My head cold is in the way- i meant EGON SCHIELE...

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  35. Hey! Hold on just one darn minute! What happened to your header photo? Not that the new one is very nice, but I loved the old photo of the little children.

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  36. bb, I like to change my header every so often. It's easier than redecorating the real Manor.

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  37. I love the hands and that smile. Makes me so happy, thank you for highlighting this artist.

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  38. I like your art!

    http://avondalestyle.blogspot.com/

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  39. I live about an hour from the Columbus Museum, but I don't get there often enough..that place is amazing. I took my sons when they were smaller and they loved the colors, but were so anxious to go do other things like COSI, I took my youngest back about a year ago (he's 21 now)on one of our momma and son 'dates' and it looks as if
    my patience and persistence about loving art has paid off...he absolutely LOVED it. We shared so much that day, I got to peek inside his mind and look at what he sees when he looks at such beautiful pieces of art. Precious time spent together....

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  40. Oh, I've never seen this painting! Thanks for the introduction.

    BTW, Beautiful New Header! (But I loved your old one, too -- with its implication of "your favorite things.")

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  41. I always liked Soutine especially his paintings of the Mad Woman. Goodness Willow, you are a superstar! Congratulations! :)

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  42. I love the hands. They are the hands of someone who has been 'in' life.

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  43. I love Modigliani. I had never heard of chaim Soutine, but I am going to look him up.

    Did you ever see the movie "Modigliani" with Andy Garcia? Wonderful! What amazing lives these artists lived.

    I just watched "Horton Hears a Who" with the Munchkins, and this painting does have a little "Whovillian" smile. :-)

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  44. I really enjoy Soutine's work - it makes you look.

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  45. I absolutely LOVE Melanie! As an Art History Minor I love obscure artists... Thanks for sharing. I use a lot of bold colors in my work as well - kindred spirits indeed!! (BTW love the new look for your site - really great photograph.) always a pleasure... TPL

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  46. Nice contrast, the two portraits. They kind of complement each other and comment upon each other. I know which one I'm supposed to prefer, but I'm not sure which I'd choose, given the option.

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  47. Hi, Willow! I love your blog and I'll go back another time to see more!
    My best regards from Brazil
    Paula

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  48. I love Chaim Soutine. I was lucky enough to "discover" him when we were in Washington D.C. and we went to the Phillips Collection. I didn't know of him before and it felt like a special, secret discovery. I remember sitting in the main salon (I just love house museums) and feeling simply transported. On the walls were Soutine, El Greco, Picasso, Kandinsky.... It was an amazing moment. Thank you for bringing it back.

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  49. In all the years of Soutine's grinding poverty, he had only two important sources of support. Polish art dealer Leopold Zborowski (who had himself only arrived in Paris just before WW1 started) paid for Soutine’s trip to the South in 1919. Zborowski's support was unbelievable: money, food and the sale of Soutine's work in his gallery.

    American collector Dr Albert Barnes arrived in Paris in Dec 1922. Paul Guillaume escorted the magnate around the artists’ studios for several weeks, but nothing much happened. Finally Barnes had gone to a painter's studio to see a Modigliani, and noticed a Soutine portrait that he immediately loved. Guillaume took Barnes to Zborowski who had a number of recent landscapes that Soutine had painted, and Barnes bought them all!!

    In the end, Soutine's death was as tragic as his life. A few months after the German invasion of France, Soutine was forced to seek shelter wherever he could hide. Suffering from a bleeding stomach ulcer in 1943, he had to leave his hiding place to undergo emergency surgery but died a few hours later. He was in his late 40s.

    Miraculously his works survived, largely in Barnes' Collection.

    Helen Webberley
    http://melbourneblogger.blogspot.com/

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  50. What a lot I have learnt from your blog and your readers Willow. Many thanks, I love that painting, it makes me smile, and the one of Soutine too.

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  51. It's nice that people respect a teacher by drawing a painting of her. I don't see this that much anymore. It's a shame. Teachers deserve respect.

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)