From very early on in his career, Soutine painted still lifes using models and objects that he liked to arrange in his own way. He was also a great admirer of Chardin (1699-1779), who was a remarkable painter of still lifes, and whose works Soutine would contemplate in the Musée du Louvre. He copied Chardin’s masterpiece, La Raie [The Ray], painted around 1725-1726. This painting in the Musée de l’Orangerie is one of a series produced by Soutine that takes as its subject hares or rabbits hanging by the leg. The rabbit stretches down right from the top to the bottom of the canvas. Unlike the plucked chickens he had painted, the rabbit still has its fur, in delicate shades ranging from brown to gold. Beside the rabbit there is also an irregularly shaped red pitcher suspended by its handle. This element reflects Soutine’s taste for splashes of red in his paintings, as seen on the cloth of the Petit pâtissier [The Little Pastry Cook] and the flowers of the Gladioli in the Musée de l’Orangerie.
Provenance: Paul Guillaume; Domenica Walter