oil on wooden board
33 x 24 cm (13 x 9 1/2 in.)
signed lower right
Max Ernst painted the present work during a very significant creative period. This phase of the artist’s output was heavily influenced by the combination of landscape and vegetation. As seen in this work, plants and their environment form a strange, dreamlike unification, further intensified by Ernst’s well-mastered Surrealistic techniques of frottage, grattage, and decalomania. For the latter technique, the support is covered with a layer of pigment and then pressed with a smooth surface such as glass, resulting in a rich pattern similar to coral, rocks or imaginary creatures. As described in the text of the major Max Ernst retrospective at the Tate in 1991, “Decalcomania was what might be termed an intersubjective method, comparable to the automatic writing, the dream protocols and the cadavres exquis of the late 1920s. Yet with Max Ernst, the game led to a marvellous expansion of his visionary world [. . .] employed with great sophistication and supplemented by interpretative additions by hand”.
Max Ernst • Paysage de Corbiéres