Sunday, February 5, 2017

Chaim Soutine

Chaim Soutine was a 20th century Russian born artist.  He studied painting in Finland and then moved to France where he lived and worked.  He was a contemporary and friend of many modern artists including Modigliani, who painted his portrait twice.  

Soutine was well regarded among his fellow artists and art dealers who recognized his genius. One dealer was so impressed by Soutine's work that he paid him cash for 60 paintings.  Soutine took the cash, ran out in the street in Paris, hailed a cab, and had it take him to Nice, a city on the southern coast of France that was a favorite destination for artists living in France between World War 1 and World War 2. 

He managed to avoid serving in the first world war, which was a minor miracle.  But his Jewish roots caught up to him in Nazi occupied France in the second world war.  Soutine had to stay on the run to avoid getting captured and sent to a concentration camp.  He suffered from some health problems, including ulcers, which went untreated due to having to stay one step ahead of the fascists.  He died of a perforated ulcer in 1943 while hiding in a forest in France. 
Today, some of his work sells for millions of dollars at auction.  And many of his paintings survive in collections and in museums around the world.

But the world was robbed of all the other paintings he would have made if he had not been indirectly killed by the Nazis. Soutine's life and untimely death remind us that fascists not only stole and looted priceless works of art during their years in power in Germany, they also directly and indirectly caused the deaths of artists, both male and female, the world has come to see as modern masters of art.
This is why it's important to keep making art and to keep fighting against all fascists everywhere, both here in the USA in the form of the alt right, white nationalists, and the orange asshole in the White House who wants a ban on Muslims, and those world wide, especially in Europe and the UK. Fascists hate free speech, entertainment, and art, because all those things are used against them. Keep up the fight and keep artists remembering who's lives were cut short by fascists.

1 comment:

Professor Chaos said...

I hadn't ever heard of him, but judging by those examples, I'd say he was brilliant. What a tragic loss.