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Roland Penrose

/Works and biography

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Frottage, ca. 1932
Charcoal and colored crayons on paper, 33 x 49 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Venice
Purchased with funds given by the Guggenheim Circle and Penny Borda, 2012
2012.112
© Roland Penrose Estate, England 2012.The Roland Penrose Collection. All rights reserved


Penrose was a leading English Surrealist artist, and active as a writer, gallerist, curator and collector. He experimented with the technique of frottage (from the French frotter, “to rub”), invented by Max Ernst: a means of eliciting accidental imagery by rubbing, with crayon or other material, on paper placed over a textured surface. While at a glance the forms in this work evoke natural earth patterns, the image remains enigmatic. In the summer of 1938 Peggy exhibited two paintings by Penrose in the Exhibition of Contemporary Painting and Sculpture at her Guggenheim Jeune gallery in London. In November that year Penrose curated for Peggy the Exhibition of Collages, Papier-collés, and Photo-montages, including three works by himself.

credits: Hangar Design Group