Property from an Important Private Collection

Max Ernst

Tete à Cornes — 1452

Lot Closed

October 6, 05:33 PM GMT


20,000 - 30,000 USD

Lot Details


Property from an Important Private Collection

Max Ernst

1891 - 1976

Tete à Cornes 1452

conceived 1959, this example cast after 1979*, signed Max Ernst and stamped with Atelier Hugo reference number 2249 / 1452, edition 2/2, exemplaire d'artiste (artist's proof); stamped with François Hugo goldsmith's mark twice and assay mark on reverse

23k gold pendant in wooden box labeled by hand: Or 23 carats. 923 millièmes, Poids 182gs. Exemplaire No. E.A. 2/2; Poinçon 1es titre du Bureau de la Garantie de Marseille Pièce No. 2249/1452 portant la signature de Max Ernst, et le Poinçon de Maître de François Hugo. Fait dans ses atelier d'Aix en Provence en 1979. Lot sold together with (Book) Stiftung Max Ernst, Brühl, KulturSttiftung der Länder, and Sotheby's Important Tribal Art, New York, November 15 & 16, 1985.

7½ by 5¼ in.; 19 by 13 cm.

182.28 g.

Acquired by descent from the artist to the present owner

SFMoMA, National 1970 Drawing Exhibition, San Francisco Museum of Art, California, 1970, p. 40

Diana Du Pont and Katherine C. Holland, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art: The Painting and Sculpture Collection, Hudson Hills Press, New York, 1985, p. 298

Ernst Schwitters and Sprengel Museum Hannover, Fervor Dadá: Colección Ernst Schwitters, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela, 1998, pp. 104, 258

Clare Siaud and Pierre Hugo, Bijoux d'artistes, Artist's Jewels, Hommage à François Hugo, Les Cyprès, Aix-en-Provence, 2001, front cover and pp. 98-9

Ulrich Krempel, Sprengel macht Ernst: die Sammlung Max Ernst : Verzeichnis der Bestände des Sprengel ,MuseumHannover, Sprengel Museum, Hanover, 2006, p. 249

Diana Küppers, Künstlerschmuck = objets d'art, Hirmer, Munich, 2009, p. 75

San Francisco, California, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, National 1970 Drawing Exhibition, 1969 – 1970

Hanover, Germany, Sprengel Museum Hannover, 1998

Copenhagen, Arken Museum for Moderne Kunst, 1998

Santiago de Compostela, Spain, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, 1998 – 1999

Lisbon, Portugal, Museo do Chiado de Lisboa, 1999

Madrid, Spain, Fundación Juan March, 1999

Max Ernst’s Tête à cornes (horned head) gold pendant is one of the most recognizable objects of his work and part of his collaboration with renowned goldsmith François Hugo in the late 1950s. He loved ‘the rough, chiaroscuro material nature of gilded metal…the perfect balance between intent and technique, a coming full circle of different disciplines.’ (Paola Stroppiana, Scultura Aurea, Gioielli d'Artista per un nuovo Rinascimento, Gli Ori, Pistoia, 2019, p. 90.) This primitive mask design with prominent horns - an unusual use of a fine material like gold, cast solidly into a large form - is a recurring theme in his art, of Surreal abstraction mixed with reality.

Ernst’s love of masks and carvings, among many of his collecting passions, were addressed in the first series of masks created with Hugo between 1959 and 1961 and then a second around 1970, both transposed into jewels by Pierre Hugo.