Judith takes out the trash

26 Jun
Judith (1946) Francis Gruber

Francis Gruber, “Judith,” 1946, oil on canvas, 92 x 73 cm, auctioned by Christie’s, Paris, December 8, 2003 (Lot# 72)

Francis Gruber was a French painter, known for his mature and melancholy style – a product of living through two World Wars. One of Gruber’s most memorable works is “Job,” completed in 1944 for the Salon d’Automne, in which he employed the Biblical story as an allegory for hope under suffering of the Occupation.  The inscription translates as: ‘Now, once more my cry is a revolt, and yet my hand suppresses my sobs.”  Because of this and other works, Gruber is considered the father of the Miserabiliste variety of French painting (i.e. deriving enjoyment from gloom – today known as Emo – including angst, romantic bitterness, and poetic desperation).  His work was decidedly anti-war, revealed against a background of political instability and economic hardship. (1,2,3)

In that same vein, here is Judith walking through a doorway from a background of gray devastation and death into a landscape of greenery and new growth.  Although her actions could be construed as “warlike”, Gruber seems to have cast her as the catalyst to end oppression and to bring hope with the destruction of Holofernes.

I just wish I could figure out the overturned garden chairs, which pose a mystery for me and mess with my OCD.


(1) Worldwide Art Reseources, Francis Gruber (1912-1948)

(2) Tate Collection, Francis Gruber: Job 1944

(3) ThinkQuest, Art and the Influence of War: Francis Gruber

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Posted by on June 26, 2013 in Gory


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