Marcel Broodthaers

The Farm Animals

1974

Original title
Les Animaux de la ferme
Medium
Lithograph on paper
Dimensions
Image: 819 x 603 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1980
Reference
P07385

Display caption

Various breeds of cattle are presented in a grid-like pattern resembling pages from an educational or scientific manual. However, the names printed beneath each cow are those of car manufacturers. As a young man, Broodthaers befriended the Surrealist painter René Magritte. One of Magritte's most famous paintings featured a picture of a pipe with the words 'This is not a pipe' written in French underneath. Broodthaers was fascinated by the way Magritte used words to contradict a visual image. Here he plays his own game, pitting visual and linguistic meanings against each another.

Gallery label, September 2004

Catalogue entry

P07385 FARM ANIMALS 1974

Inscribed ‘M.B.’ bottom right and ‘1974’
Two-sheet lithograph, printed at Göttingen, published by Edition Staeck, Heidelberg in an edition of 120, each sheet 32 1/4×23 3/4 (82×60.3)
Purchased from Edition Staeck (Grant-in-Aid) 1980

This print comments on the resonance of commercial names and hence advertising's ability to exalt mechanics or technology into a legendary sphere. Engraved illustrations of breeds of cattle are captioned with car names.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1980-82: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1984