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Époque des forêts (Age of Forests)

© Estate of Max Ernst / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Estate of Max Ernst / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Estate of Max Ernst / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Max Ernst

German, 1891-1976

Époque des forêts (Age of Forests), 1926

oil on canvas

support: 36 1/8 x 23 1/2 inches (91.76 x 59.69 cm); framed: 46 1/4 x 33 3/4 x 2 1/2 inches (117.48 x 85.72 x 6.35 cm)

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

A. Conger Goodyear Fund, 1964

1964:8

Collection Highlight

More Details

Inscriptions

signature, dated / reverse / Max Ernst / 26
signature, undated / lower right / Max Ernst

Provenance

Galerie Raymonde Cazenave, Paris;
Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett;
sold at auction, Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett, Moderne Kunst 37, May 3, 1962, number 85;
Galerie Beyeler;
sold to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, November 13, 1964

Class

Paintings

Work Type

Oil painting

This information may change due to ongoing research. Glossary of Terms

Over the course of four decades, from 1925 to the 1960s, Max Ernst made many paintings of the woodland interiors. Altogether, they form an imposing thematic series that explores the mystery and symbolism of such imagery. When Ernst was a child, his father took him into the forest near his hometown in Germany, and he later recalled the contradictory feelings he experienced; in his words, ”the wonderful joy of breathing freely in an open space, yet at the same time the distress at being hemmed in on all sides by hostile trees.”

Here, a curtain of truncated, strangely textured “trees” rises up through mysterious vegetation in a primordial landscape. Such emergent forms were produced through what Ernst referred to as a “grattage” technique. The artist would drape the wet canvas over wood or some textured object and scrape the surface in order to pick up the underlying pattern. Often, Ernst would combine several applications to create a single composition. In Age of Forests, for example, he applied the technique over an earlier design—the circular forms of which remain visible in the center of the image, adding to the overall disorienting texture of the picture plane.

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