Still Life


Oil on canvas

347 x 500 cm (136 5/8 x 196 7/8 in.)

Although Still Life is based on a Cézanne watercolour, its only quotation of the artist is the humble figurative motif, a fruit still life with a carafe of water in the background, blown up to a monumental size of several metres in keeping with the genre of large oil paintings.

Luc Tuymans says it is a response to the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York. Instead of explicitly depicting the attack’s violence and pathos, he chose to make a disturbingly strange painting that is modest in subject matter but large in size. Illustrating the banality of evil in painting, the work also revives the genre of vanity painting, calling for reflection on the fatality of existence.

This large painting by Tuymans was first shown at Documenta 11 in Cassel (2002) before joining the Pinault Collection. It was presented during the group exhibition "Mapping the Studio" (2009-2011) at the Punta della Dogana and very recently at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice as part of the show entitled "La Pelle" dedicated to the Belgian painter.