3/1/13: Lady In Red
Woman in Red, Chaim Soutine
Often seen as a forerunner to Abstract Expressionism, Soutine’s style of Expressionism comes to life in this piece as we see immensely rhythmic and descriptive brushstrokes. The painting depicts a woman draped across a chair in a long red dress. The deep red captures most of the painting, not only in the lady’s dress, but also on her hands, face, and necklace as well as the background. The only thing in the painting that stands out as not being red is the black hat she is wearing. At first, the lines drawn seem to contort and distort the woman to a degree that initially seems unflattering, but when examined closer shows that that using these strokes has given the character much more depth. Not only do they give the stationary character mobility and suggest movement, but also help reflect other subtle qualities, like her hands, which are seen as gnarled and possibly arthritic. Also, looking at the curvature of her smile with respect to the eyes, the viewer can see that she is given a depth of character that might not be expressed with a normally drawn face. She is comical, slightly insane, and altogether brilliant. Such a portrait might seem to be drawn in haste with little details fleshed out, but this work was that of careful examination and precision to the utmost.
Theories of the enigma Soutine:
Comments about Soutine in relation to modern art: