What we think

What we did last weekend – Soutine at the Courtauld

On Sunday Alex visited the Courtauld to see the ‘Soutine’s Portraits: Cooks, Waiters and Bellboys’…

After reading about Chaim Soutine discovering a family (possible exaggeration) of bedbugs living in his ear when he lived in Paris, I knew this was an artist, subject and period I'd be drawn to. So last weekend I bussed it down to the Courtauld for the first time in years, to find out more.

The weather was grim, making the subject matter of this show all the more appropriate. Tucked away on the top floor of the Gallery are two rooms with portraits of (mostly) male waiters, bellboys and chefs. All the sitters look distressed, worn out and ready for a kip. But don't let that put you off. The array of colours used in every portrait is astounding and there's something fascinating about the bleak expressions looking out at you. I was especially taken with The Little Pastry Chef, with his hands disinterestedly hanging from his hips and his white uniform contrasting with the deep blue abyss behind him.

I just wish there'd been more than two rooms to see.