Still life with meat.

Carcass of Beef, 1926

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Soutine grew up poor in a small Lithuanian town and continued to struggle as a starving artist in Paris. His years of deprivation gave him stomach ulcers, so he abstained from meat and other rich foods. Beginning to achieve success as an artist, he found himself, ironically, buying meat—but not to eat. He expressed his ambivalent relationship to food through paintings of butchered animals.

Carcass of Beef shows the influence of Rembrandt’s Slaughtered Ox, a painting of an ox carcass strung up in a slaughterhouse. Soutine bought a steer’s carcass and put it up in his studio. As it rotted, his neighbors noticed the smell and called the health authorities, who suggested he inject the carcass with formaldehyde. He did so, but as the flesh dried it lost its vivid color. To solve the problem, Soutine bought blood from the slaughterhouse and applied it to the carcass.



Soutine, Carcass of Beef (#952)
Carcass of Beef
Artist Life
French (born Belarus, active France) 1894 - 1943
Accession Number
'Paul Guillaume (1891–1934), Paris[1]. Dr. Jacques Soubiès, Paris (until 1940, his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, December 13, 1940, no. 88). Mme. Germaine Bignou (by 1945–at least 1951).[2] [Paul Rosenberg and Co., New York, 1953–57; sold, June 13, for $25,000, to Mia)[3] [1] If owned by Paul Guillaume, it may have passed into the hands of his widow, Domenica, later the wife of the architect Jean Walter (according to the Musée de l'Orangerie). Additionally, Zborowski may have owned the work at one time as well. [2] Germaine Bignou (Paris 1893–1965 Paris) was married to the dealer Etienne Bignou (Paris 1891-1950 Paris), of Bignou Gallery in New York, which was open from 1935 to 1950. [3] The purchase was funded by Donald and Elizabeth Martin Winston, Los Angeles, California and Winston's sister-in-law, Martha H. Whitaker, who remained anonymous.
Curator Approved

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Still life with meat.