Oiseaux rouges (Red Birds)

Max Ernst

Brühl, Germany, 1891 - Paris, France, 1976

In summer 1925, Max Ernst moved from Paris to a small town on the Atlantic coast, where he discovered the frottage process, from looking at the knots in the floorboards of his hotel room. Ernst rubbed a pencil in soft and regular strokes over a piece of paper laid over the surface, and began to uncover images that thus appeared in keeping with the Automatist theories of Surrealism, reducing to a minimum his conscious participation in the creation of the work. Oiseaux rouges (Red Birds) represented the next step in Ernst’s investigations into Surrealist methods, when, a year later in 1926, the artist discovered grattage, scraping still wet paint from a canvas that had been placed on a rough textured surface such as stones, shells, wood and so on. The results of his experimentation include some of the artist’s most representative series, such as those on forests or birds, Oiseaux rouges being from one of the latter.

Paloma Esteban Leal