Although André Masson was at one time interested in Cubism and, later, in the ideas of Surrealism, his work eventually evolved into an abstract style in which symbolism became the dominant means of expression. During World War II (1939–45), Masson fled France for the United States. It was there that he began developing his compositions using automatism—a creative process in which the artist tries to suppress conscious control over the imagery that emerges. The whimsical forms that comprise In the Forest suggest plants, trees, and animals, yet the overall mood is dream-like and charged with mystery. Masson’s works had a significant impact on artist Arshile Gorky and, eventually, the Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock.