Lot 41
  • 41

André Masson

Estimate
1,000,000 - 1,500,000 USD
Sold
1,258,500 USD
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Description

  • André Masson
  • Le Fauteuil Louis XVI
  • Signed André Masson (upper left)
  • Oil on canvas

Provenance

Galerie Simon, Paris

Buchholz Gallery (Curt Valentin), New York

Saidenberg Gallery Inc., New York

Henry A. Markus, Chicago (acquired from the above in 1968)

Acquired by descent from the above

 

 

Exhibited

Mexico City, Galeria de Arte Mexicano, Exposicion internacional del Surrealismo, 1940, no. 51, illustrated in the catalogue

New York, Coordinating Council of French Relief Societies, Inc., First Papers of Surrealism, 1942, illustrated in the catalogue

Paris, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris-Paris: Créations en France, 1937-1957, 1981, no. 430bis

Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Dada and Surrealism in Chicago Collections, 1985, no. 42, illustrated in the catalogue

Literature

Minotaure, nos. 12-13, Paris, May 1939, illustrated p.14

André Masson, "Life and Liberty," Art in Australia, March-May, 1942, illustrated p. 13

Otto Hahn, Masson, Paris, 1965, illustrated p. 47

Marcel Jean, The History of Surrealist Painting, New York, 1967, discussed p. 294 

José Pierre, Surrealism, Stockholm, 1970, discussed p. 68

Jean-Paul Clébert, Mythologie d'André Masson, Geneva, 1971, no. 106, illustrated (with inverted dimensions)

Georges Brownstone, André Masson.  Vagabond du Surréalismo, Paris, 1975, illustrated p. 96

André Masson (exhibition catalogue), The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1976, illustrated p. 41

"André Masson vom Automatismus zum Allegorie," Kunstforum International, January-February 1987, illustrated p. 128

Camille Morando, Peinture, Dessin, Sculpture et litteratures aurour du College de Sociologie pendant l'entre-deux-guerres (dissertation), Université Paris IV, La Sorbonne, Institute d'Histoire de l'Art et d'Archéologie, 2000, no. 268, illustrated p. 1388

Martin Ries, "André Masson: Surrealism and his Discontents," Art Journal, New York, Winter 2002, illustrated p. 80

Eric Darragon, ed., La provocation: Une dimension de l'art contemporain (XIXe-XXe siècles), Paris, 2004, discussed p. 102

Guite Masson, Martin Masson & Catherine Loewer, André Masson, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, 1919-1941, no. 1938-6, illustrated in color, p. 327

Catalogue Note

Masson's fantastical depiction of the mutilated Louis XVI chair is one of the most politically provocative images of the Surrealist movement.  When this picture was illustrated in the 1939 issue of Minotaure, it was titled "Le Père des Français," alluding to the dethroned 18th century King whose execution marked the beginning of the new French Republic.  The brutality and aftermath of regicide is imaginatively depicted in this image, with the decapitated chair and bear traps set at its feet.  The picture's allusion to political revolt was timely, given the tensions brewing throughout Europe at the end of the 1930s. 


The chair featured in this oil was one that Masson had seen in Matisse's studio in Ciboure and that had featured in Matisse's own drawings around this time.    Matisse famously used the ornately-constructed chairs in his studio as props or even as stand-ins for female models.  Masson's reinterpretation of the chair in the present painting evidences how the two artists had common sources of inspiration, given that they were next-door neighbors, and Masson could see the furniture in the artist's room through the window.   In a drawing done in 1940 by Matisse, he depicts the same Second-Empire Louis XV armchair, with a view of Masson's garden through the window.

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