Georges Boels, Brussels (acquired by 1953)
Private Collection (by descent from the above)
Acquired from the above by the present owner circa 1987
In Colombes noires sur fond rouge Ernst combines large planes of bold colour with the seemingly organic structures created through grattage. From amongst this network of interwoven shapes it is possible to discern the recognisable forms of birds. This was the period when Ernst’s alter-ego Loplop first began to appear and as a motif representing the artist, or creative agency, it is one that appears repeatedly in Ernst’s work. Diane Waldman writes: 'The bird theme, in which Ernst identifies himself with a bird, re-emerges from time to time throughout his career. This fascination is a recapitulation of Ernst's childhood memories and also appears to be a reference to Leonardo, whose fixation with a vulture was documented by Freud in his essay, Eine Kindheitserinnerung des Leonardo da Vinci, 1910. The bird stands for the flight and the fantastic and, of course, the intellect' (D. Waldman in Max Ernst (exhibition catalogue), The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1975, pp. 40 & 41).
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