Max Ernst

This sheet is an example of frottage, a method of creating a design by rubbing pencil over paper laid on a textured surface. By using this technique, Ernst surrendered some control, thus expanding the possibilities of his art. The border of Fruits, with its softly rendered wood grain pattern, is a classic example of the method. The central still life, however—turned on its axis and appearing to float in space—has a compositional clarity that is difficult to achieve with frottage.

Max Ernst
German, 1891–1976
Fruits, 1925
Black colored pencil or crayon frottage
The Art Institute of Chicago, gift of Richard and Mary L. Gray; 2019.846
Gray Collection Trust, Art Institute of Chicago
© Max Ernst / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photography by Art Institute of Chicago Imaging Department