Fänn & Willy Schniewind, Neviges, Germany (acquired by 1958)
Thence by inheritance to the present owner
Darmstadt, Kunsthalle, Rot im Bild, 1960, no. 9, illustrated in colour in the catalogue (as dating from 1936)
Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Zurich, Kunsthaus, Max Ernst, 1962-63, no. 94
Recklinghausen, Städtische Kunsthalle, Zauber des Lichts, 1967, no. 60, illustrated in the catalogue
Eduard Trier, Max Ernst, Recklinghausen, 1959, illustrated in colour p. 13
Graphis, vol. 100, Zurich, 1962, no. 6, illustrated p. 232 (as dating from 1936)
Walter Herdeg (ed.), The Sun in Art - Die Sonne in der Kunst - Le soleil dans l'art, Zurich, 1963, no. 6, illustrated p. 132 (as dating from 1936)
Werner Spies, Max Ernst Œuvre-Katalog, Werke 1954-1963, Cologne, 1998, no. 3188, illustrated p. 74
Ernst painted Terre de Feu using the grattage technique, which he developed in the 1920s. He would cover the canvas with layers of paint and place it over an uneven surface or an object. He would then scrape the pigment off the surface, and complex patterns would emerge. Discussing this grattage technique, Werner Spies wrote: ‘Max Ernst laid his canvas over various objects with raised textures – pieces of wood and string, grates, textured glass panes – and, drawing the paint over them with a palette knife, brought forth the most vivid effects’ (W. Spies, Max Ernst. A Retrospective (exhibition catalogue), Tate Gallery, London, 1991, p. 148). The dynamic of the present work is derived from the contrast between the solid application of red and black pigment in the background, and the more softly and delicately painted sun and its reflection which, with the application of grattage, acquire an almost translucent, lace-like quality.
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