Graham Sutherland (1903-1980), Horned Tree Form (1946)

“Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself.” – Animal Farm, George Orwell

Graham Sutherland, most known for his imaginative landscapes and portraits, was one of the leading British modern artists of his time. Sutherland painted various surrealistic versions of horned figures, which were influenced by a root he found and had taken back to his study. The striking colors along with the convoluted shape of the figure work together to create a sense of discomfort and bizarreness while the horned figure itself takes an animalistic form, which is very representative of the wildness and barbarity of war. The natural subject in this painting can also be considered Sutherland’s depiction of how humans are primitive and destructive by nature.