Plucked Chicken

Le Poulet plumé

Plucked Chicken belongs to a series of paintings of plucked fowl or rabbits that Soutine produced alongside the series of beef carcasses. The painter liked to make several paintings of the same subjects in different compositions. These series of paintings, often carried out in the same period, are typical of Chaïm Soutine’s work. Here, the plucked chicken is hanging by its neck down a table that has been tipped on its side. The animal’s body presents a burst of colours, in contrast with a background where all the elements are in a range of blues and greys. The animal’s neck has not been completely plucked. Elie Faure (1873-1937), in his essay on the painter, published in 1929, wrote: "He found a sensual pleasure in dead flesh […] he would hang his dead birds by the neck, their beaks open." Soutine’s fascination for plucked or skinned animals probably had its origin in early traumatic memories from his childhood.

Provenance: Paul Guillaume; Domenica Walter