Max Ernst

Zoomorphic Couple


In Zoomorphic Couple, the appearance of light, sinuous channels through dark painted areas, produces a relief-like effect suggestive of frottage (rubbing technique). However, Max Ernst created the effect here by putting paint-laden string or rope on top of the canvas and spraying over it. The image of the bird, which recurs frequently in the artist’s work from 1925, became an almost obsessive preoccupation by 1930. In this painting one can discern a vaguely birdlike form and a caressing humanoid arising from the primordial material that gives them their substance. The forms have the effect of dream or poetic apparition. The sense of genesis and evolutionary stirrings in Zoomorphic Couple is complemented by the creative inventiveness of the artist, who combines layers of pastel color under spattered, blown, and dripped paint.

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Artist Max Ernst
Original Title Couple zoomorphe
Date 1933
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 91.9 x 73.3 cm
Credit line Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York)
Accession 76.2553 PG 75
Collection Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Type Painting

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