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Max Ernst

Ci-fut une hirondelle

plaster relief, painted
1927
ca. 22 x 23 cm / c. 8 5/8 x 9 in.
signed and numbered 12/7 lower left one of 12 individually painted reliefs

Birds had played an important role in Ernst's life from his childhood. In January 1906, his parrot, which he dearly loved, died on the day Ernst’s little sister was born. He firmly believed that the bird had reincarnated in the baby. He often painted human figures with bird heads or humanized birds. Ernst called himself Loplop, the superior bird, which first appeared in a painting in 1928. In May 1921, Ernst wrote a poetic text about his friend Jean Arp, using several phrases involving birds, among them the `swallow from the walls´, which nested in the slopes of Arp’s shoulders. But Ernst was not alone in using the motif of birds in his works. Between 1925 and 1928, works with birds by several artists were illustrated in "La Révolution surréaliste", among them 'Deux enfants sont menaces par une rossignol', 'La Belle Jardinière' and 'Monument aux oiseaux', by Ernst, 'La Naissance des oiseaux', 'Oiseau percé de flèches', and 'Mort d’un oiseau' by André Masson and 'Personnage jetant une pierre à un oiseau' by Joan Miró. "Ci-fut une hirondelle" was the very first edition Max Ernst created. It was announced in March 1928 in the journal "La Révolution surréaliste". Max Ernst painted the twelve plaster casts individually by hand, turning them into unique works.

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