The Man in Prayer

b. Smilovichi, near Smolensk, 1893 - d. Paris, 1943

Soutine, a French painter of Jewish origin, came from an extremely poor family. At the age of 13, he ran away to Minsk, where he took a few drawing lessons. In 1910, he went to study art in Vilna, where he worked for a living in a photography shop. Through the help of a patron, he moved to Paris in 1913, and began to study art under Fernand Cormon at the École des Beaux-Arts. Amedeo Modigliani, with whom Soutine had become friendly, introduced him to Leopold Zborowsky, the art dealer, who made it possible for Soutine to work for three years (1919-1921) in Céret in Provence. Soutine produced turbulent, emotionally charged pictures, some 200 in number, which Zborowsky did not appreciate; however, an American collector, A.C. Barnes, bought 100 of these paintings in 1923. Soutine returned to Paris in 1926 to paint flayed carcasses. He also painted extremely distorted and highly expressive portraits. In 1929, he worked at Chatel Guyon with the Castaings, art collectors who owned many of his works. After the occupation of France by the Germans, Soutine went into hiding, but continued to paint. He died on the operating table on August 9, 1943, after suffering from a severely ruptured ulcer.

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