At the Courtauld Gallery, the Return of Soutine in Great Britain

“An unheard of pastry chef, fascinating, real, truculent, afflicted by an immense and arrogant ear, unexpected and right: a masterpiece”. This was the reaction, in 1923, by American collector Albert C. Barnes upon seeing Little Pastry Kook by Chaïm Soutine. After which, he immediately purchased 50 works by the artist from Belarus, changing the course of a life made up of art, alcohol and misery up to that point. After 35 years, Soutine returns to the United Kingdom with an exhibition that shows off all his greatness. Representing him are cooks, porters, waiters, valets, the unusual stars of his first successful paintings. Soutine, who travelled in France often, was struck by the charm of the expressive humanity to be found among workers in the luxury restaurants and hotels of Paris and the south of the country, so different from the old servants of the aristocracy that they have shone forth as symbols of the modern era. A series of powerful paintings, where brushstrokes of red, blue and white highlighted the outline of form, and bodies and lineaments were deformed with an almost expressionist effect. A slap to the eyes by an extravagant and restless artist, who was accused of being brutally raw, but knew very well the works of El Greco, Velàsquez, Cézanne and was to be compared with Rembrandt, Pollock and Van Gogh.
Francesca Grego - © 2017 for Bulgari Hotel London