'Meat Painting II - In Memoriam Rene Magritte' 1967 - Adrian Henri

A white background, with a bold and detailed depiction of two steaks. The meat is only painted in the top half of the canvas.

Acrylic on canvas

This is one of a group of food paintings which the Liverpool-based painter and poet Adrian Henri made in the mid-1960s. Although the carefully arranged and succulently painted cuts of meat reference the traditional genre of the still life, Henri disturbs conventional expectations by placing them against a plain white background. The effect is to make them seem faintly macabre or surreal (an intention conveyed in the title's homage to one of the greatest twentieth-century surrealists). But the meat is also painted in a cool and distant manner. One might be looking at the artwork for a British Meat advert.