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"Les Peupliers" by Max Ernst, 1939

Elegantly dazzling with swirling colour application

Galerie Thomas presents „Les Peupliers“ by Max Ernst among other masterpieces at Art Basel Miami Beach 2018 - December 6 - 9, 2018, Booth C6

Miami/Munich, November 28, 2018

Max Ernst created his painting “Les Peupliers” in his love nest in Southern France. “It was the last summer before the outbreak of the Second World War, his last and only summer in crazy, intimate togetherness with his lover Leonora Carrington”, says Silke Thomas. Galerie Thomas is pleased to present this Surrealist work from one of the most important stages in Max Ernst’s creativity and life at this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach.

The German artist and leading proponent of Surrealism had fled from Paris with Leonora Carrington to the small village of Saint-Martin d’Ardèche in order to escape his quarrelsome second wife and the disputes with André Breton, who was politically tending towards Stalinism. Here, they purchased a farmhouse, which they transformed into a “Gesamtkunstwerk” with sculptures and painting, and antagonized the villagers with their nudist escapades. In Saint-Martin, Max Ernst created “Les Peupliers,” a work that ranks among a whole group of paintings
showing similar columnar structures and forms created by decalcomania.

Just an impression of two poplars
The perception of merely only a landscape painting when looking at “Les Peupliers” is soon shattered and overturned by the bizarre, strange and confusing forms in which the paint winds, curls and forms signs and symbols. Nowhere does the eye succeed in focussing on a familiar shape: profiles and faces, zoomorphic figures and cloud-like formations materialise, only to disappear again. Silke Thomas: “Everybody knows Max Ernst for Grattage and Frottage, but this elegantly dazzling surface effect he achieves through the technique of decalcomania, a transfer process, in which the paint is manipulated in such a way that the streaks, bubbles and curves that are typical of Ernst’s paintings of this period are formed on the surface in an unplanned manner.” And these works are paradigmatic for Surrealism, seducing the viewer at any moment to identify figures and forms that have never been deliberately represented.

The last weeks before his escape to the USA
Only a few weeks later in this dramatic summer of 1939, Max Ernst was interned in the notorious camp Les Milles. He escaped twice and finally fled to the USA with the help of no one else than Peggy Guggenheim. There was one more short meeting with his lover Leonora in Lisbon, but their plans to escape together were dashed. The name of Max Ernsts third wife is Peggy Guggenheim, although she wasn’t the last woman Max Ernst married.

Galerie Thomas is proud to announce in addition masterpieces by German expressionist Emil Nolde, American artist of Classic Modernism Alexander Calder, German Bauhaus teacher Oskar Schlemmer and others.


© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018
© Galerie Thomas 2018

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