The Beautiful Season

Oil on canvas
58 x 108 cm
Private collection

From "Max Ernst: A Retrospective"


"Jack of all trades again; prospects gloomy. Eluard continued to help. Then, suddenly and unexpectedly, a contract with Jacques Viot, courtier en chambre and adventurer, who had already signed on Miró and later, on Max's recommendation, was to place Arp under contract, too. Arp, Ernst, Miró - the trio that would win accolades a quarter of a century later in Venice.

"Max, at the age of thirty-four, was at last able to settle down to his 'work', for the first time in his life. And to rent his first studio (in Rue Tourlaque in Montmartre).

"He spent the holidays on the coast of Brittany. This was where he was inspired by the sight of a wooden floor. The frottage technique was born. Histoire Naturelle was done by this method, and was published the following year by Jeanne Bucher. Arp wrote the introduction, and Eluard asked the question, 'Has the mirror lost its illusions, or has the universe doffed its impenetrability?' And Max went on, 'By doffing its impenetrability, the universe merges with man. Doffing blindness becomes man's calling.' Frottage was merely a technical means of augmenting the hallucinatory capacity of the mind so that 'visions' could occur automatically, a means of doffing one's blindness."