Still Life, Gladiolas
On View: European Art Galleries, 5th floor
Here, Chaim Soutine’s expressive flowers, luminous against the dark background, reflect the influence of the artists he most admired: Rembrandt van Rijn, Francisco Goya, and Gustave Courbet. He made ten paintings of gladioli, perhaps drawn to these flowers because they were the color of blood, a substance depicted in many of his still lifes of dead animals. A critic in 1926 found blood an apt metaphor for Soutine’s painterly and emotional force: “His work looks to me like a hemorrhage. Before rendering his soul, the artist spits up all his blood. And each spurt gives birth to a new vision, singularly intense, tragic, and painful.”
Soutine struggled in poverty after arriving in Paris in 1913 from Russia (present-day Belarus). His fortunes changed in 1922, when the American collector Albert Barnes bought fifty-two of his paintings, likely including this one. Barnes gave the work to his wife, Laura, who in turn bequeathed it to the Brooklyn Museum.
Oil on canvas
21 3/4 x 18 1/4 in. (55.2 x 46.4 cm)
Frame: 27 x 23 1/2 in. (68.6 x 59.7 cm) (show scale)
Signed lower right: "Soutine"
Bequest of Laura L. Barnes
Chaim Soutine (Russian, active in France, 1893-1943). Still Life, Gladiolas, ca. 1919. Oil on canvas, 21 3/4 x 18 1/4 in. (55.2 x 46.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of Laura L. Barnes, 67.24.24. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 67.24.24_PS9.jpg)
overall, 67.24.24_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
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