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Chaim Soutine

For this month’s blog I will be spotlighting one of the artists I love: Chaim Soutine.

Born Chaim-Iche Solomonovich Sutin, Soutine was a prototypical wild artist. Soutine’s temper and depression are both well documented and were poured into the paint he layered on the canvas, which was typically one effervescent wave of colour. One of his critics correctly noted, “Soutine’s picture looked as if he had spit his soul out on linen along with his blood.”

Soutine’s body of work transcends the movements that dominated the avant-garde during his lifetime, expressing a clear personal and artistic vision that looks back at historic themes as well as toward the future and modernist styles. Despite dominant trends towards abstract art, Soutine maintained a firm connection to recognisable subject matter. His innovation was in the way he chose to represent his subjects, with a thick impasto of paint covering the surface of the canvas, the palette, visible brushwork, and forms, translating the artist’s inner torment.

With few friends or acquaintances beyond fellow artist Amedeo Modigliani, Soutine interpreted common themes with the eye of an outsider, further enhancing his unique perspective regarding his human subjects, landscapes, and still life.

Soutine’s life may have been squalid, but it didn’t stop him producing some of the most marvellous portraits of his age. The series of works entitled ‘Cooks, Waiters & Bellboys’ offers powerful images of a new social class of services personnel, those who moved from aristocratic households of past centuries to the luxury hotels and restaurants of the late nineteenth and twentieth century.

David Henty paintings in the style of Soutine are hanging at the Hotel du Vin Brighton and Les Platanes Mayfair, London. For commissions please contact


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