Steeple of Saint-Pierre at Céret, ca. 1922
When Soutine moved to Céret in 1919, the small village nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenees had been a mecca for artists for almost a decade; Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Juan Gris had already immortalized its landscape and village architecture in cubist works of the early 1910s. Soutine’s exploration of the site would prove a longer, more meticulous study. Indeed, Céret provided the catalyst for the development of the signature attributes of his painting practice, already evident in this work from 1919: illegibility, instability, and confusion of foreground and background. The works painted in Céret were among the artist’s most celebrated and depict a landscape suffused with frenzied motion and tumultuous emotion.