46
46

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE BELGIAN COLLECTION

Max Ernst
COLOMBES NOIRES SUR FOND ROUGE
ACCÉDER AU LOT
46

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE BELGIAN COLLECTION

Max Ernst
COLOMBES NOIRES SUR FOND ROUGE
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Surrealist Art Evening Sale

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Londres

Max Ernst
1891 - 1976
COLOMBES NOIRES SUR FOND ROUGE
signed Max Ernst (lower left)
oil on canvas
65 by 81cm.
25 5/8 by 31 7/8 in.
Painted in 1927.
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This work will be included in the supplementary volume of the Complete Works of Max Ernst edited by Werner Spies in collaboration with Sigrid Metken and by Dr Jürgen Pech.

Provenance

Herman Toussaint, Brussels

Georges Boels, Brussels (acquired by 1953)

Private Collection (by descent from the above)

Acquired from the above by the present owner circa 1987

Exposition

Knokke-le-Zoute, Casino Communal, Max Ernst, 1953, no. 61 (as dating from 1931 and with framed measurements)

Description

Dating from a particularly important period in Ernst’s career, Colombes noires sur fond rouge exemplifies both his technical innovations and the very personal iconography that underpinned so much of his work from the 1920s and 1930s. Ernst had always looked for new approaches to applying pigment that broke with traditional modes of representation, and his discovery of frottage in 1925 would prove a pivotal moment in his career. This rich, new source of imagery was rapidly refined by Ernst, initially in a series of works on paper, and then, in a further development into the associated technique of grattage, in which he covered canvases with a layer of paint before placing them over an object and scraping off the pigment to reveal the patterned surface beneath. As Ernst was immediately aware, the spontaneous suggestiveness of these techniques responded directly to Surrealist theory, yet these works were never entirely ‘automated’ as their composition was always subject to a conscious decision on the part of the artist. 

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). 

Surrealist Art Evening Sale

|
Londres