• Louis Soutter
  • Morges 1871 - 1942 Lausanne
  • Christ, circa 1935
  • Pen and black ink, blue stains on the right, on wove paper,
  • inscribed by the artist lower right: CHRIST,
    stamped number on the verso: 131
  • 256 × 171 mm
Fondation Le Corbusier, Paris, inv. no. 231
Michel Thévoz: Louis Soutter - Catalogue de l’oeuvre,
Zurich 1976, no. 2063

Louis Soutter studied engineering, architecture, and music in Lausanne, Geneva, and Brussels before turning to art in 1894 and taking lessons in drawing. Further stations in his artistic activity were Paris and Colorado Springs, where he directed the college’s newly founded art department for a time. Alongside art, Soutter nourished a particular love of music and played in multiple Swiss symphonic orchestras, until his family forcibly placed him in an old age home in 1923 as a result of his unorthodox and transient lifestyle. In protest, Soutter threw himself into painting, developing an introverted style that was almost incomprehensible to the uninitiated, and finally making use of his whole body to apply the paint. Soutter no longer cared for the reactions of his surroundings and died completely isolated at the institution in 1942.

Given this context, it is not surprising that pain and asceticism are ubiquitous in his work.

One of the few to take an interest in Soutter’s art was his cousin Charles E. Jeanneret, better known under the pseudonym Le Corbusier, from whose collection this sheet comes. Otherwise, Soutter’s misunderstood oeuvre was only slowly rediscovered by the art world after his death. However, today his work can be found in all the major museums of the Western world.