Sam Haile
Surgical Ward 1939

Artwork details

Sam Haile 1909–1948
Surgical Ward
Date 1939
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 610 x 762 mm
Acquisition Presented by Mrs Marriane Haile 1967
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1930

Display caption

In true surrealist tradition, Haile’s work challenges convention and good taste. There seems to be a clear air of violence and threat in this picture. We seem to be looking at both a figure in a landscape and at the internal organs of a human body. The artist was fascinated with surgery and dismemberment. This work may show a surgeon (right) trampling on parts of a dissected body, watched by a series of disembodied eyes (left). The idea of stripping away all learnt convention to facilitate a new vision was an important part of surrealism.

September 2016

About this artwork