- Max Ernst
- Moon II
- signed Max Ernst and dated 44 (lower right); titled on the stretcher and inscribed Made in NY on the reverse
- oil on canvas
Private Collection (by descent from the above. Sold: Christie's, New York, 12th May 1988, lot 334)
Private Collection, London
Private Collection, Paris
Sale: Sotheby's, New York, 7th November 2007, lot 54
Purchased at the above sale
Ernst and Dorothea Tanning spent the summer of 1943 in Arizona, and Werner Spies described the ranch where they stayed as 'a marvellous spot on the bank of a creek that, fed by the glaciers of the San Francisco Mountains, came rushing down through a canyon (a kind of replica of the Grand Canyon on a human scale) to lose itself in the burning deserts to the south. The first fascinating thing about the place was its abundance of colour [...]. Then there were the rock formations, which resembled a great variety of things' (W. Spies, Max Ernst, A Retrospective (exhibition catalogue), Tate Gallery, London, 1991, p. 323).
Discussing Ernst's works inspired by these surroundings, John Russell wrote: 'Arizona offered isolation, a celestial climate, a way of life that was both economical and free from suburban constraints. It offered the inspiration of supreme, natural beauty [...] Few things are more stirring than the fantastic forms and the irrational colouring of the mountains around Sedona. In the mid-1940s life and landscape in that region had an uncorrupted quality which made of Arizona a Promised Land in which a new life could be begun and an old one discarded [...] and although Max Ernst had never been a landscape painter, in the ordinary sense, it was deeply moving for him to come upon a landscape which had precisely the visionary quality that he had sought for on canvas' (J. Russell, Max Ernst: Life and Work, New York, 1967, p. 140).