Many artists have passed away and left a final masterpiece tantalizingly unfinished. Even more interesting, albeit in a slightly morbid fashion, are the last works of artists who took their own lives. Some such works seem to hint at the dark thoughts consuming their creator, while others seem ironically serene and peaceful in relation to the artist’s inner suffering.
10. Zebra And Parachute, Christopher Wood
Zebra And Parachute was one of two paintings that Christopher Wood produced in Paris in the summer of 1930, the other being Tiger And Arc De Triomphe. Both paintings depict a surreal image of an exotic animal against the backdrop of a manmade structure, although Zebra And Parachute is unique in that it adds a parachuting figure in the sky. It may be darkly significant that the parachutist is limp and appears to be either dead or seriously injured.
After leaving Paris for England in August 1930, Wood met his mother in Salisbury to show her his newest works, including Zebra And Parachute. Tragically, Wood was suffering from the effects of opium withdrawal, which caused paranoia and the belief that he was being followed by a mysterious entity. In a desperate attempt to escape his imagined pursuer, Woods jumped in front of a train that very same day. To avoid upsetting his mother, the death often referred to as accidental by the contemporary press.