Marcel Broodthaers

The Farm Animals


Not on display

Marcel Broodthaers 1924–1976
Original title
Les Animaux de la ferme
Lithograph on paper
Image: 819 × 603 mm
Purchased 1980

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

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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

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