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.

see media
  • title:
    War Woman
  • accession number:
    GMA 4830
  • artist:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • subject:
  • materials:
    Mixed media on board
  • date created:
    Dated 19th September 1949
  • measurements:
    71.00 x 43.00 cm
  • credit line:
    Purchased with funds from the Cecil and Mary Gibson Bequest 2007
  • copyright:
    © Desmond Morris
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve

Desmond Morris

Desmond Morris