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Friday, July 16, 2010

Chaïm Soutine

It's time again for another mini-art history lesson.
Today's subject is Chaim Soutine.

Chaim Soutine (1893 –1943) was a Jewish painter from Belarus, which is now part of Russia.
At 20 years old, he and his friends moved to La Ruche, a home for poor struggling artists in Paris.
Although he was starving half the time, Chaim liked to paint rotten meat.
People complained that his room stunk, but he didn't care.

He just kept on painting rotten meat.

If he were alive today, he would have the last laugh.
His rotten carcass paintings now sell for millions of dollars.

One sold for a record 13 million bucks.
Of-course this is long after his death. When he was alive they were probably worth nothing.

He painted lots of things that weren't rotten, but this wasn't one of them.

I imagine this sting ray was particularly florid.

He seldom showed his work, but in 1937 he was part of a huge painting exhibition in which he was hailed as a great painter.

Enter World War Two and the fact that he was Jewish.

Chaim was forced to hide out from the Nazis.
He lived outdoors, sleeping in forests or in bushes... in the rain, in the snow.

To make matters worse, he suffered from a badly bleeding stomach ulcer. Yuck.

He died from this stomach ulcer on August 9th, 1943.
He was 49 years old.


  1. Your art history lessons always make me happy, even when they involve rotting meat, Nazis, and bleeding ulcers! I could have sworn the first two paintings were actually snapshots of me splayed out sunbathing!

  2. looks like something I had served to me at a restaurant here...

    I'd better stick to the mexican food.

  3. Chaim lived on a diet of potatoes and milk. I'd like to think he didn't eat his subjects after he painted them.
    And yes, vegetarian is better.

  4. Well I don't like the paintings at all, but the story is super interesting! Off to swim laps!

  5. being a Gemini, I changed my mind and like the figurative paintings of scenes, but still not the rotting flesh. Super weird, I like that tho!

  6. I like them both. The scenes of buildings are more up my alley, but the carcasses are really cool too.

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