Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chaim Soutine ~ The Little Pastry Chef

This week's image here at Fifty Two Pieces is Chaim Soutine's The Little Pastry Chef. Painted in 1921, it shows a pastry chef with a wry look standing very near a chair. Some say he would have preferred sitting there while Soutine painted him. That could explain the expression on his face or perhaps it showed the other question -- why would you possibility want to paint me? At the Portland Art Museum, this painting is straight ahead of you as you come up the stairs to enter the Center for Modern and Contemporary Art. The flaming red will warm you on a chilly day. As you get nearer you see that the red is made up of a myriad of colors, the same ones in that white jacket and hat the pastry chef is wearing. More about Soutine and The Little Pastry Chef later this week.

If you haven't seen this Soutine painting in person you should plan a trip to the Portland Art Museum. At about twenty feet from the top of the stairs, you'll be in the center of six major pieces of modern art.
On the left –– Gauguin's Garden View, Rouen
At a slight diagonal on the left –– Monet's Waterliles
Straight ahead –– The Little Pastry Chef
On the right –– Cezanne's Paris: Quai de Bercy - La Halle aux Vin
At a diagonal on the right -- Brancusi's Muse
Just past the Muse –– Picasso's Head of Woman
And around the corner from the Gauguin you'll find Van Gogh's Ox Cart.

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