Visiting Paris in 1923, Barnes was overwhelmed by the highly original expressive approach of the young painter, but Soutine never reacts like everyone else. After this unexpected success, he moved his studio and rushed to La Villette to buy a beef carcass.
The series of images of carcasses, beef and afterwards other animals, is not a victory of the artist against hunger. He was indeed already threatened by his stomach ulcer that will kill him twenty years later.
The haunting red of blood and meat is the exacerbation of a child's nightmare. Soutine had been shocked by the contrast between the tragedy of the dead animal and the satisfaction of the butcher to offer a choice piece. His carcasses defy the balancing traditions of still life painting in a logical continuation of his compositions of landscapes.
Meat rots on its hook, offering new colors to the artist and alerting the neighbors who called the police but failed to halt this remarkable creative impulse. An oil on canvas 81 x 60 cm showing a beef carcass in close up view is estimated $ 20M for sale by Christie's in New York on May 11, lot 30A.