About this artwork

This is a rare example of an object-painting by Morris. It was completed in 1949 following a trip to Paris in which he met several artists from the surrealist group. The three-dimensional construction breaks through the edges of the frame. It shows a female figure against a background of circular shapes and doodles which have a ballistic, explosive quality. As the artist commented: “the figure of the war-woman is perversely angular. In place of the usual curves of the feminine body there are stiff, straight lines and a sense of hardness – the severity of a woman exposed to the rigours of war.” Morris selected everyday objects but when combined and painted they appear alien and brutal: a door-knob as a head, a picture frame to represent her pelvis and a cork-fishing float as her genitals.

Updated before 2020

see media
Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? Tell us what you think.

Desmond Morris

Desmond Morris