Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to announce the upcoming exhibition Life in Death: Still Lifes and Select Masterworks of Chaim Soutine, on view April 24 - June 14, 2014 at 515 West 27th Street, New York, curated by renowned Soutine scholars and co-authors of the artist's catalogue raisonné, Esti Dunow and Maurice Tuchman. The exhibition will focus on the artist’s still life paintings, most often depicting slaughtered carcasses of hares and fowl – images of death and dying. The works pulsate with vibrancy and energy, as paint and brushstrokes resonate with life. The directness of these images, in both subject matter and sheer painterliness, has influenced generations of artists. Select portraits and landscapes in this exhibition complement the still lifes and reinforce the coherence of Soutine’s visceral vision.
Life in Death will present several rarely exhibited paintings, many of which will be shown for the first time in decades. Of the sixteen works in the exhibition, eight will appear in the forthcoming third volume of the artist’s catalogue raisonné, by Dunow and Tuchman, currently in preparation.
A fully illustrated catalogue accompanying Life in Death will include an essay by the curators, as well as an extensive text written expressly for the exhibition by Nobel Prize winning neuropsychiatrist Eric Kandel detailing the neuroscientific explanation for the compelling nature of Soutine's often disarming images. Also included is Roald Dahl's short story “Skin,” whose vividly-imagined narrative centers around a Soutine tattoo on a man's back. Written and published in The New Yorker in 1952, "Skin" reflects Soutine's high visibility at the time of his groundbreaking 1950 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, an exhibition that placed the artist at the foundation of the developing abstract expressionist movement, and made him a hero to the post-war generation in the US and abroad.
Chaim Soutine was born in Smilovitchi, Belarus in 1893, and later settled in Paris in 1913. Devoted to studying paintings in the Louvre, he was enamored of Rembrandt's raw texturing and inspired by the unrelenting realism of 15th century painter Jean Fouquet. Contemporaries of Soutine’s, especially Modigliani, recognized the artist’s innate talent and Jacques Lipchitz spoke of his natural painterly gifts as “God-like.” After years of desperate poverty in war-torn Paris, Soutine suddenly enjoyed worldwide fame with the arrival of Dr. Albert Barnes in November 1923, when the American collector purchased over fifty paintings by the artist.
Life in Death will be the first in a series of future exhibitions at Paul Kasmin Gallery examining Soutine and his artistic impact. Subsequent exhibitions will demonstrate the profound influence he exerted on artists worldwide, creating a contemporary framework for the argument of Soutine as a “painter’s painter.”
The exhibition will coincide with Walton Ford: Watercolors at Paul Kasmin Gallery’s 293 10th Avenue location, on view May 1 – June 21, 2014.