Soutine was born in Minsk, Lithuania (now in Belarus), to Jewish parents. He studied art in Vilnius, and in 1913, traveled to Paris with two friends to study at the École des Beaux Arts.
He lived in Montparnasse and became friends with Amedeo Modigliani who painted Soutine\’s portrait several times, once on a door belonging to their art dealer. Paul Guillaume, another influential art dealer, began to champion Soutine\’s unique style after World War I and in 1923, Alfred Barnes, purchased 60 of Soutine\’s paintings, these are now part of The Barnes Collection in Philadelphia. Soutine became known for his paintings of animal carcasses, the stench horrified his neighbors. He said that \”I want to show all that is Paris in the carcass of an ox.\” This series was inspired by Rembrandt\’s works. During World War II, Soutine left Paris and moved constantly to avoid detection by the Gestapo. He developed a stomach ulcer, returned to Paris for treatment, but died shortly after emergency surgery.