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News Room

High to Showcase Five Soutine Portraits with Fall 2014 Cézanne Exhibition

September 30, 2014

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ATLANTA, Sept. 30, 2014 – 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.

“We are extremely grateful to the Lewis Collection for lending these important works to the High,” said David Brenneman, director of collections and exhibitions and Frances B. Bunzl Family curator of European art at the High. “We look forward to sharing Soutine’s emotionally charged and powerfully painted portraits with visitors to our Museum.”

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.

About “Cézanne and the Modern: Masterpieces of European Art from the Pearlman Collection”
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.

Exhibition Support
Support for this exhibition is provided by lead sponsors The Coca-Cola Company and Delta Air Lines. The exhibition is also made possible by the Livingston Foundation, the Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Endowment Fund, the Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Endowment Fund, and the Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund. A special thanks to lead patron Ruth Magness Rollins. Additional support provided by Ms. Louise Sams and Mr. Jerome Grilhot, Gordon and Linda Ramsey, Mrs. Frances Bunzl and Friends of Cézanne.

About the Pearlman Foundation
The mission of the Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation is to broaden the public reach and deepen the personal experience of art while conserving the original works for future audiences.

About the Princeton University Art Museum
Founded in 1882, the Princeton University Art Museum is one of the leading university art museums in the country. From the founding gift of a collection of porcelain and pottery, the collections have grown to more than 92,000 works of art that range from ancient to contemporary and concentrate geographically on the Mediterranean regions, western Europe, China, the United States, and Latin America. Committed to advancing Princeton’s teaching and research missions, the Art Museum serves as a gateway to the University for visitors from around the world. The Museum is intimate in scale yet expansive in scope, offering a respite from the rush of daily life, a revitalizing experience of extraordinary works of art, and an opportunity to delve deeply into the study of art and culture.

About the Lewis Collection
The Lewis Collection, created by investor and businessman Joe Lewis and his daughter Vivienne Lewis, is one of the largest private collections in the world and includes the work of European modern masters as well as contemporary Chinese artists.

About the High Museum of Art
The High is the leading art museum in the Southeastern U.S. With more than 14,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High Museum of Art has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American and decorative art; significant holdings of European paintings; a growing collection of African American art; and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography, folk art and African art. The High is also dedicated to supporting and collecting works by Southern artists. For more information about the High, visit

About The Woodruff Arts Center

The Woodruff Arts Center is one of the largest arts centers in the world, home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art and Arts for Learning. Each year, these arts organizations play host to over 1.2 million patrons at the Woodruff Arts Center’s Midtown Atlanta location, one of the only arts centers in the U.S. to host both visual and performing arts on a single campus. Through its work with educators and schools, the Woodruff Arts Center serves over 300,000 students annually and is the largest arts educator in Georgia.

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Marci Tate
High Museum of Art
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