“I’ve always been crazy about Soutine,” said Willem de Kooning. “All of his paintings.” The French-Russian painter Chaim Soutine moved to Paris as a young man and became an important member of the School of Paris. With thick swaths of vibrant color he created vigorously expressive landscapes, portraits, and still lifes. Critics and curators, especially in America, proclaimed him a “prophet” and his work was widely exhibited. In 1950, the American-Dutch de Kooning visited New York’s Museum of Modern Art, where a Soutine retrospective was on display. Two years later he saw Soutine’s work at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. These encounters made a lasting impression. De Kooning felt that Soutine’s style legitimized his own. Co-curated by Simonetta Fraquelli, consultant curator for the Barnes Foundation, and Claire Bernardi, chief curator of paintings at the Musée d’Orsay, this exhibition places the two masters side by side. —E.C.
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