Oil on paper backed onto canvas
The Jewish woman belongs to the Hostages series dated 1945, when he was exhibiting at the Drouin Gallery, but were in fact created in 1943, thus demonstrating his committed stance in the face of the barbarity of wartime when he allegedly heard shootings and summary executions in the woods near Paris. He continued “painting with corrosive and destructive poisons”, as Tériade put it, which he applied to the female body. Here, however, decomposition is not a device: the title conjures up massacre, execution and barbarity in which the woman is just a body bereft of life. Her shapeless body, with a few touches of pink and brown, is spread out on a background with a green wash.