Jean Fautrier gave form and consistency to the horrors of war – experienced firsthand during the German occupation of France – with Hostages, a series of works composed of around thirty examples, painted between 1942 and 1945, and almost all exhibited in the Drouin gallery in Paris. In these works, which express both the dramatic situation of the historical events during the conflict and the more general plight of twentieth century man, humanity, overcome by the most ferocious instincts, loses physiognomic descriptiveness and hence its own recognisability, assuming the violated and lacerated physicality of formless matter, like pieces of flesh from a slaughtered body. The material bears the deep stigmata of suffering and torment; the artist’s intense activity must also have felt like slow torture, as he gleaned his images from the paper placed on the table, mixing plaster of Paris and glue with a spatula, and finishing with a light coat of oil colours. These disfigured faces, stripped of all human characteristics, paved the way for what became his characteristic expressive style, in which the harsh and brutal material always played a crucial role, even though, over time, the colour scheme of his paintings tends to gradually lighten and lose the more dramatic connotations of his initial works. This process of clarification can be seen in Angles, in which the lumpy and conspicuous paste stands out from the thin background like a bas relief, arranged in a gridded weave that highlights a different intent of spatial geometry.