Max Ernst

This is Max Ernst.  He invented frottage.  I have collected a selection of his art work which is really excellent at demonstrating the range of ways you can integrate frottage into the drawing process.  I have got a selection of his


drawings, as well as some of his paintings, which have textures which look like frottage to me.  Although I don’t think you can frottage with paints, the paintings show how the use of frottage in a drawing can develop into a painting.

I think that frottage is one of the most effective ways of drawing texture.  It is striking in contrast with lines and other marks, so it makes a drawing exciting for the eyes.  It is very effective as a way of suggesting form and depth because of the range of tonal qualities it produces.

Frottage from Le Fascinant Cypres from Histoire Naturelle

Frottage from Le Fascinant Cypres from Histoire Naturelle

Histoire Naturelle

Histoire Naturelle

Le Start du Chaltaigner

Le Start du Chaltaigner

“Ernst, Max, 1891-1976, Le Start du Chataigner [drawing]., 1925  Black crayon frottage, and gouache on paper mounted to cardboard. Primary support: 10 5/16 x 14 13/16 inches (262 x 376 mm)” *

Naissance Dune Galaxie

Naissance D’une Galaxie

Naissance D’une Galaxie is one of the paintings which reminds me of Ernst’s frottage work.  The patterns of the dots and the mottled pattern along the bottom of the painting could all be paintings of frottage.  I have a quote from a website which offers more information about this painting, which I thought might be useful in the future:

“Naissance D’une Galaxie – Birth of a Galaxy 1969
Oil on canvas, 92 x 73 cm

Naissance d’une galaxie (Birth of a galaxy) was created in the year of the first moon landing. Man had conquered the lunar symbol of the yearnings of Romanticism (a cultural epoch so important for Ernst) and found only empty, rocky silence. As if by way of a replacement, Ernst allows a new galaxy, its circular disc patterned with dots, to arise out of the nebula of primeval forms inhabiting the lower border of the picture. This galaxy is located in the imagination – and in the picture seen here. Entirely in keeping with Ernst’s fantastical natural history, the eternal, ethereal realm and the here and now of artistic invention converge in the moment of this picture.” **

Die ganze Stadt, 1935/36

Die ganze Stadt, 1935/36

Pleaides 1920

Pleiades 1920

Pleiades 1920

Pleiades 1920

*The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York. Gift of Walter Feilchenfeldt in honor of Eugene and Clare Thaw. 2011.28. Photography by Grahams S. Haber, 2012.



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