André Masson

André Masson
1896-1987
Ville cranienne (Skull City)
1940
Watercolor and pen and black ink on wove paper.
18 7/8 x 24 13/16 inches (480 x 630 mm); in decorative frame: 26 7/8 x 31 7/8 x 1 7/8 inches
Gift of the Modern and Contemporary Collectors Committee.
2011.6
Provenance: 
Blue Moon Gallery and Lerner-Heller Gallery, New York; Mr. and Mrs. Elliot Goldstein, Atlanta, GA; Sale Bonhams, New York, 9 Nov. 2010, lot 54; Patrick Derom Gallery, Brussels and New York; from whom acquired.
Notes: 

André Masson was a key figure of the Surrealist movement from its beginning in France in the 1920s. His early contribution to the movement consisted of 'automatic' drawings, a spontaneous style of drawing characterized by free-form gestures. In the late thirties Masson adopted a more controlled and figurative mode in subjects often inspired by mythology. "Ville cranienne" is an example of Masson's second phase of Surrealism. In this vivid image, the artist compares the human head to an imaginary city whose complex architecture evokes that of a labyrinth, a visual metaphor for the subconscious.

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