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Travel Tip: Art and Archaeology in Switzerland
Soutine and Modernism

Chaïm Soutine (1893 – 1943)
Chaïm Soutine (1893 – 1943)
Soutine and Modernism
BASEL  •  Kunstmuseum Basel  •  Ongoing

Born in Belarus in 1893, Chaïm Soutine was confronted with unimaginable, in part religious opposition to his desire to become an artist. The decision to study art in Vilna showed great daring and courage. His path took him to Paris in 1913, the capital of the European avant-garde. Like many Jewish newcomers from Eastern Europe, Soutine initially found refuge in the sociotope of the studio residence, La Ruche, and later at the Cité Falguière, where he worked alongside such artists as Chagall, Modigliani and Jacques Lipchitz. Beyond this small circle, Soutine led a largely isolated life.

The exhibition comprises some 60 works by Soutine, one point of departure of being the works of the Im Obersteg Collection on permanent loan to the Kunstmuseum Basel. Insightful juxtapositions with paintings by Soutine’s friends – Modigliani, Chagall, or Utrillo – and artists like Picasso, Braque or Munch highlight the artistic context of Soutine’s oeuvre.

Soutine was quite indifferent to one of the greatest achievements of modernism, the freedom of subject matter; he maintained an unwavering, lifelong devotion to the triad of still life, landscape and portrait. There is, in fact, not a single subject in Soutine’s art for which one could not find a 17th-century model. It almost seems as if art historically sanctioned genres afforded him the security that he needed in order to venture into uncharted territory as a painter. Perhaps this explains why some connoisseurs can be less than enthusiastic about his oeuvre.

Kunstmuseum Basel Web Site

Contact: St. Alban-Graben  16
CH-4010 Base
Tel: (41) 61 206 62 62

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