Soutine / de Kooning: Conversations in Paint
This catalogue accompanies the world premiere exhibition Soutine / de Kooning:
Conversations in Paint at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. Organized with the Musées d'Orsay et de l’Orangerie, Paris, the exhibition and catalogue explore the affinities between the work of influential Lithuanian artist Chaïm Soutine (1893–1943), who lived and worked in Paris, and leading abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning (1904–1997).
Soutine / de Kooning: Conversations in Paint considers how Soutine’s work, with its built-up surfaces and energetic brushwork, had a decisive impact on the development of de Kooning’s art, especially following Soutine’s celebrated posthumous retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 1950. The expressive force of Soutine’s paintings, coupled with his image as a struggling bohemian artist living in Paris during the interwar years, imparted a particular influence on a new generation of postwar painters in the United States. In 1977, when asked about the artists who had most influenced him, de Kooning declared: “I think I would choose Soutine . . . I’ve always been crazy about Soutine—all of his paintings.” De Kooning, more than any other artist of his generation, understood the tension between
the opposing poles in Soutine’s work: a search for structure with a passionate connection to art history, and a pronounced tendency toward the formless. De Kooning was the only abstract expressionist who continued to praise Soutine throughout his career and to credit him with being important for the development of his own work.
The catalogue includes essays illuminating the careers of both artists, as well as Dr. Albert C. Barnes’s important role in collecting and promoting Soutine’s work. It also contains reprints of selected writings on Soutine and de Kooning, as well as a chronology, a checklist of works in the Soutine retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 1950, and an illustrated checklist of paintings by Soutine on view at the Barnes Foundation. The exhibition catalogue is made possible with generous support provided by the Lois and Julian Brodsky Publications Fund.
Edited by Simonetta Fraquelli and Claire Bernardi
Hardback, 280 x 248 mm
176 pages, 120 illustrations
The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia
7 March – 8 August 2021
Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris
15 September 2021 – 10 January 2022
In the press
"This extraordinary exhibition... this juxtaposition of two painters given to big gestures, thick paint, and intense emotion feels exhausting and exhilarating." —The Philadelphia Inquirer
"...De Kooning later recalled. “The Soutines had a glow that came from within the paintings—it was another kind of light.” Nearly 70 years later, a Barnes wall of Soutines will be offset by a wall of De Koonings, illuminating each other." —The Art Newspaper