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Chaim Soutine: Flesh

The Jewish Museum

Once I saw the village butcher slice the neck of a bird and drain the blood out of it. I wanted to cry out, but his joyful expression caught the sound in my throat… This cry, I always feel it there.

— Chaim Soutine

Chaim Soutine: Flesh was an exhibition of more than 30 paintings by Chaim Soutine, an expressionist known for his gestural and densely painted canvases. It focused on the artist’s remarkable paintings depicting hanging fowl, beef carcasses, and rayfish, and is now considered among his greatest artistic achievements.

Exhibition Design: Solomonoff Architecture Studio
Installation Photography by Jason Mandella
Exhibition Description Text: The Jewish Museum


This exhibition was dedicated to the artist’s paintings of slaughtered animals, but unlike a Dutch still-life painting that depicts the beauty and lushness of meat as food, Soutine’s expressive paint splatters remind us of the aggressive nature of killing.

The curator Stephen Brown drew lines between the paintings and the anti-Semitic violence that Soutine witnessed and experienced growing up. He said Soutine’s work is “imbued with suffering and anxiety.”


Inspired by the butcher shop within Soutine’s quote, we worked with sign painter Jon Bocksel on hand-drawn lettering inspired by turn-of-the-century French storefronts. We also installed actual butcher paper as wallpaper, which, beyond the literal pun, ended up looking like leather wallpaper.