Coming Home to Roost

Posted on May 14 2019

Pecking order, hen-pecked, nest egg, feather your nest, flew the coop, feeling broody, brood over a problem, in a stew, a bad egg, no spring chicken, coming home to roost, don't count your chickens before they hatch.

Until we became the proud keepers of a motley gang of our own chickens, we didn't realize how much of our everyday vernacular is based on these common barnyard birds. And also, how much we like chickens.

Even if you don't particularly like chickens, you might want to watch this terrific documentary called Chicken People.

Not content to be just the domain of folk art and seed catalogs, when we started to dig a little deeper we realized that, perhaps due to their quirky ordinariness, chickens have long inspired artists as well as storytellers.

Here are some of our favorite pieces of chicken art. 

Basquiat Rice and Chicken

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Rice and Chicken. Image via Wikiart. 

Read this article from Vice Magazine about Rage to Riches, a documentary about Jean-Micheal Basquiat and how his childhood and family life influenced his art.

Aves muertas Goya painting

Francisco Goya, Aves Muertas. Image via Museo del Prado.

Gustav Klimt Garden Path with Chickens

Gustav Klimt, Gartenweg mit Hühnern (Garden Path with Chickens). Destroyed by a fire set by retreating German troops in 1945 at Schloss Immendorf, Austria. Image via the Klimt Museum. 

Eugène Galien-Laloue Feeding the chickens

Eugène Galien-Laloue, Feeding the Chickens. Image via Christie's.

Katharina Fritsch The Fourth Plinth Hahn/Cock

Katharina Fritsch, Hahn/Cock. A large blue rooster stands guard over Trafalgar Square, in London. Image via The Guardian. 

Fahrelnissa Zeid  paléokystallos” sculptures chicken bones

Fahrelnissa Zeid, paléokystallos. Sculptures made from painted chicken bones cast in resin and acrylic. From Zeid's first solo exhibition at the Tate Modern in 2017.  Image via Hurryiet Daily News.

Read this article about Turkish artist Fahrelnissa Zeid, who became an Iraqi princess and leading modernist painter in London and Paris during the 1940s and 50s. She started working with chicken bones after learning to cook at age 57, when she survived a coup that assassinated the entire Iraqi royal family.

Peck. limited edition linocut print handmade chicken art by Papat

Papat, Peck. Handmade linocut print. Limited Edition. 

Buck limited edition chicken linoprint art Papat

Papat, Buck. Handmade linocut print. Limited edition. 

See more of Papat's work here.  

Read this story from Smithsonian Magazine about how the chicken conquered the world. 

One of our favorite chicken dishes is Yemeni roast chicken with potatoes and paprika. You can get the recipe here.