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Signed Masson (lower left); inscribed Penthesilee., dated 1960 and 18/5/60, and dedicated à Rose (on the reverse)
Oil on canvas
36⅛ by 28⅝ in.
91.6 by 72.2 cm
Painted in 1960.
The authenticity of this work has kindly been confirmed by the Comité Masson.

Le Comité Français pour la Sauvegarde de Venise, Paris (a gift from the artist in 1972 and sold: Galerie Cristofle, Paris, June 19, 1972)
Private Collection, Paris (and sold: Sotheby's, London, November 30, 1994, lot 245)
Private Collection

Bern, Kunstmuseum Bern, Masson: Massaker, Metamorphosen, Mythologien, 1996, no. 114
Darmstadt, Institut Mathildenhöhe, 2003, Andre Masson : Bilder aus dem Labyrinth der Seele
Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, André Masson, 2004
Athens, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Museum of Contemporary Art, Masson and Ancient Greece, 2007

Automatism, the central premise of André Breton’s first Surrealist Manifesto of 1924, was practiced as early as 1923 by the revolutionary Surrealist André Masson. His use of automatic drawing and painting strategies continued throughout his life. This later work Penthésilée, 1960, demonstrates contrasting tenants of spontaneity and control, freedom and order. Masson referred to the contrasting colors in a work such as Penthésilée ashis ‘phosphorescent effect’ – where the pigment’s inherent minerality delivers the painting’s light source. Within this his calligraphic figuration emerges –Penthésilée, a daughter of Ares, was a Thracian woman warrior who fought on the side of the Trojans. Works such as this left a large impact upon the Abstract Expressionists who often credit his interpretation of gesture and automatism as being a chief influence to their respective practices.

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