Hi everyone 🙂 and welcome to another instalment of all things art and cultural! This week I wanted to cover an exhibition I visited a couple of weeks ago, which I had been looking forward to a while when I saw adverts on the tube. This was the lovely Soutine’s Portraits – Cooks, Waiters and Bellboys at the Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House. This exhibition is available until 21 January 2018 with ticket prices for the gallery and exhibition at £10.50, or £5 with the art pass!
Somerset House: Fun, Culture & Food!
For those who need some ideas for Christmas-y day out, I highly recommend visiting Somerset House. Not only does this iconic building house the wonderful Courtauld Gallery, but it has also now opened their famous ice rink for Christmas! I highly recommend that you purchase tickets for the ice skating beforehand as it is really popular. There is something magical about skating in the evening when it is all dark and the tree and surrounding area are beautifully lit up. Luckily, given that the sun sets around 4pm in London, you would have plenty of time to skate around in the dark! Not to mention, one of my favourite restaurants in London is also located here – Spring. Hopefully, I will get a chance to visit soon so I can share an in-depth review on the blog. For the meantime, you have to take my word for it that the food is exquisite and the restaurant is beautifully decorated! Perfect spot for a special night out. Everything you need in place: fun, culture and food!
I admit that I do not know much about Soutine but I was very drawn to the picture of the bellboy which was used to advertise the exhibition. The distorted face and disproportionate size of the body parts, such as the hands; meant that it was really different that I was instantly drawn to it. The expression of bellboy was extremely emotive despite the broad brush strokes and bright colours.
This style is consistent throughout all of Soutine’s paintings but the use of colour changed over time and reflected his mood. Chaïm Soutine was a Russian immigrant to Paris and struggled as an artist, living in poverty in the early years. It has been said his expressionist style channelled these struggles into his brushstrokes. Personally, I think this is very true and extremely poignant in his early works.
Soutine did have a moment of good fortune when a US collector bought 50 of his paintings, and since then you see an emergence of different characters his paintings, such as a waiter in a tuxedo which was much more reflective of the high-class restaurants/hotels he was frequenting.
One of the first impressions I got from the paintings is that it is very “Tim Burton”, just a little surreal and a little melancholy. I greatly enjoyed the exhibition, which brought to life a painter I knew little about but thoroughly enjoyed. However, it was a very small exhibition and was slightly disappointed that there was not more. Therefore, the exhibition just misses full marks and receives 4 out of 5 pineapples.
Despite the exhibition being small, I definitely recommend leaving enough time to wander around the Courtauld Gallery. This is the first time I visited the gallery and I was completely blown over by some of the wonderful pieces that are displayed! I did not realise that one of the famous “Card Players” by Cezanne and the beautiful portrait “A Bar at the Folies-Bergère” by Manet (1882) was located here. Such gems just under my nose and I did not realise all this time. Even the ceilings and each of the rooms are worth an exhibition in itself! Therefore, for the gallery, I give it a glowing 5 out of 5 pineapples. I personally believe that the entrance fee is worth every penny!
I am really interested in your thoughts about Soutine and the Courtauld Gallery, please put your comments below 🙂
With Sweet and Sour Love,