Still Life with Rayfish

Still Life with Rayfish

1923

Chaïm Soutine

(Russian, 1893-1943)

Oil on canvas

Framed: 111.8 x 94.3 x 11.8 cm (44 x 37 1/8 x 4 5/8 in.); Unframed: 80.5 x 64.5 cm (31 11/16 x 25 3/8 in.)

Gift of the Hanna Fund 1951.357

Description

Inspired by J. S. Chardin’s 1725–26 still life of a stingray at the Musée du Louvre, Soutine reinterpreted the theme in a turbulent, luminescent manner. Every line and form undulates as if propelled by some unseen force. Tied up on two points, as if being tortured or crucified, the stingray assumes an expression of almost human anguish, transforming it into a powerful metaphor for suffering, perhaps referring to Soutine’s own life as a poor, immigrant artist in Paris.

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