Carel Visser largely determined the face of Dutch sculpture after the Second World War. During that period he was a pioneer, constantly seeking new directions in his sculptures, drawings, collages and graphic art. His earliest sculptures are abstract animal and human figures, such as Dying horse.
The work is composed of thin and wide iron pipes and plates, which Visser cuts into the desired shape and welds together. It is possibly a reminder of his youth in Papendrecht, where old draft horses were sometimes no longer able to climb the steep slope of the river ferry and collapsed on the spot. But it also relates to the universal theme of the suffering of wounded and dying horses on the battlefield.
The work acquires enormous expression through the angular way in which the parts are welded together. The splayed legs, the contorted position of the head, the gaping mouth and the recumbent posture of the horse create a poignant image of the moment of the animal’s death. The sculpture has no pedestal. The horse lies on the ground, connected to the earth.