32
32

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION

Max Ernst
TERRE DE FEU
JUMP TO LOT
32

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION

Max Ernst
TERRE DE FEU
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist, Modern & Surrealist Art Evening Sale

|
London

Max Ernst
1891 - 1976
TERRE DE FEU
signed Max Ernst and dated 56 (lower right); signed Max Ernst and titled on the reverse
oil on canvas
55 by 46cm.
21 5/8 by 18 1/8 in.
Painted in 1956.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Galerie Der Spiegel, Cologne

Fänn & Willy Schniewind, Neviges, Germany (acquired by 1958)

Thence by inheritance to the present owner

Exhibited

Wuppertal, Städtisches Museum, Moderne Kunst in Wuppertaler Privatbesitz, 1958, no. 39, illustrated in the catalogue

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

Literature

Das Kunstwerk, April 1956, vol. 4, illustrated in colour on the cover

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

Catalogue Note

Having spent the war years in the United States, in the early 1950s Ernst returned to Paris, with a spirit of optimism renewed by Europe’s post-war recovery. Terre de Feu dates from this important period, in which earlier themes intersect with Ernst’s mature artistic sensibility. During this time the artist became fascinated by astronomy and produced a number of works influenced by this new interest, often depicting the sun and the moon. He was drawn to the romanticism of the unknown, a notion that had sparked much of his artistic exploration. The title of the present work is the French name for Tierra del Fuego, an archipelago at the southernmost tip of South America, shared by Chile and Argentina. Dominated by snowy mountains, glaciers and vast expanses of water where the Atlantic and Pacific oceans meet, and nicknamed ‘End of the World’, this dramatic and remote landscape would certainly have appealed to Ernst’s imagination and his interest in the celestial world.

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.

Impressionist, Modern & Surrealist Art Evening Sale

|
London