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Portrait of Moïse Kisling

Chaim Soutine, Russian (active France), 1893 - 1943

Made in France, Europe

c. 1930

Oil on cardboard on Masonite

39 x 27 1/4inches (99.1 x 69.2cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 267, Modern and Contemporary Art, second floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Arthur Wiesenberger, 1943

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Chaim Soutine moved to Paris in 1913 and worked in relative obscurity until 1923, when the noted American art collector Dr. Albert C. Barnes purchased fifty-two of his expressionist paintings for his foundation in Merion, Pennsylvania. Barnes was attracted to his thickly painted portraits and turbulent landscape paintings, and his unprecedented acquisition of almost the entire contents of the artist's studio meant that Soutine suddenly achieved fame and financial security after almost a decade of poverty and struggle for recognition. This portrait of the Polish-born artist Moïse Kisling is an incisive likeness of his close friend, although the energetic paint handling imbues the work with a startling expressionist force.


With Paul Guillaume (1891-1934), Paris, to 1934 [1]; his widow Domenica Guillaume, Paris; with Valentine Gallery (Valentine Dudensing), New York, by February 1936 [2]. Possibly with M. Knoedler & Co., New York? [3]. Arthur Wiesenberger, Philadelphia, by 1940, to 1943 [4]; gift to PMA, 1943. 1. See letter of September 23, 1997 from Pierre Georgel, Director, Musée de l'Orangerie, in curatorial file, stating that their records indicate that the painting was at one time in Guillaume's possession or passed through his hands. Guillaume bought at least some of his Soutines directly from the artist. The Musée de l'Orangerie owns the Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume Collection. 2. The painting was included in the Valentine Gallery's 1936 exhibition, "Paintings by Soutine," no. 18. According to the Valentine Gallery records (originals: Valentine Dudensing Ledger Books, The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York), seven of the works in the exhibition came from Madame Guillaume -- apparently purchased from her, as a total price is given (communication from Julia May Boddewyn, Oct. 21, 2002, in curatorial file). However, a Valentine Gallery purchase and sale record for this painting has not yet been located (communication from Julia May Boddewyn, Jan. 23, 2002). See also Tuchman, Soutine catalogue raisonné, 1993, vol. 1, no. 97, and vol. 2, nos. 26, 52, and 67. 3. The back of the painting has a rectangular label reading "No. 32018 / Picture", which resembles other labels possibly belonging to Knoedler & Co. 4. The date is from Maurice Tuchman, et al., Chaim Soutine (1893-1943): Catalogue Raisonné/ Werkverzeichnis, vol. 2, Cologne, 1993, no. 36, p. 570 (without reference).

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