Among Ernst's most important contributions to Surrealism are the drawings he created using the technique of frottage, as seen in this drawing. By placing a sheet of paper on an irregular surface--such as a wooden board, a leaf, of a piece of fabric--and rubbing it with a pencil, he obtained unexpected patterns that stimulated his imagination. "I was suprised by the sudden intensification of my visionary faculties and by the hallucinating succession of contradictory images," he recalled.
Le start du châtaignier (The Start of the Chestnut Tree)
Black crayon frottage, and gouache on wove paper mounted to cardboard.
primary support: 10 5/16 x 14 13/16 inches (262 x 376 mm); secondary support: 12 3/4 x 17 5/8 inches (324 x 448 mm); in decorative frame: 16 15/16 x 23 5/8 x 1 1/4 inches
Gift of Walter Feilchenfeldt in honor of Eugene and Clare Thaw.
Signed at lower right: Max Ernst. Inscribed at lower left: Le start du châtaignier histoire naturelle 14.