Lot 18
  • 18

Max Ernst

80,000 - 120,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Max Ernst
  • Fiat modes pereat ars (Spies & Leppien 7)
  • Lithograph
The portfolio comprising eight lithographs, 1919, one of only a few known examples of this rare portfolio, seven sheets monogrammed 'mE' in pencil on the versos, also signed in ink on the blue title label, on wove paper (8 prints)


Ferrara, Italy, Palazzo dei Diamanti, De Chirico a Ferrara: Metafisica e avanguardie, 2015-2016
Stuttgart, Germany, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Giorgio de Chirico: Magie der Moderne, 2016

Catalogue Note

A masterpiece of Dadaist prints, Fiat modes pereat ars is Max Ernst’s first lithographic work and the first Dada artwork to be commissioned by a civil authority. This example is one of the two proof sets that were in the collection of the artist. The work exemplifies the Dada mission to reject logic and reason in favor of nonsense and irrationality, forcing the viewer to confront one’s conditioned response to reality.

The title, “Let there be fashion, down with art” inverts the Latin phrase, “Let there be art, down with fashion,” thereby indicating the end of traditional art. Comprising eight images featuring mannequin-like figures, illogical diagrams and measuring implements accompanied by impossible equations and plays on words, the prints present an upended vision of society that defies any chronological or reasoned reading.

Although intended to be issued in an edition of sixty, the explicitly anti-bourgeois portfolio did not find many buyers among contemporary print collectors and according to Spies and Leppien, Ernst destroyed the majority of the edition. This example is one of extremely few known sets.