Max Ernst - Le facteur automne
Le facteur automne
Oil on panel 24 x 18.8 cm Framed. Signed 'max ernst' lower right as well as verso barely legibly signed, dated and titled ' Le facteur automne max ernst 57'. - Partially with fine craquelure.
When Max Ernst returned from his American exile back to his adoptive homeland of France, he was celebrated through numerous exhibitions, including the 1954 Venice Biennale. He created the present work during this period: its geometricising and splintered shards made up of blue-green fields of colour combine into the image of a roguish-looking figure with small eyes who, with his hat, seems to resemble a French postman. As in the case of his collages, the artist reworks an underlying reality in such a way that it only continues to exist - if at all - as a cryptogram within the resulting picture. The real point of departure has become so far removed that it can no longer be hermeneutically reconstructed solely on the basis of the work. Even if the painter has named the enigmatic figure the “autumn postman” in the title, this hardly explains his nature. Max Ernst adeptly causes the spheres of reality and fiction to blur, thus undermining viewers' expectations. Almost casually and with a fine sense of humour, Max Ernst has opened a window for them into the surreal.
Our work is nevertheless capable of evoking an autumnal mood. The richly nuanced palette featuring cool tones of blue and brown seems to correspond to the transition into a cooler time of year - whether the somewhat hidden, bird-like creature flying at the upper edge of the picture is a migratory bird must remain undecided.
With a photo-certificate by Jürgen Pech, Brühl, dated 25 January 2015. The work will be included in the supplement of the catalogue raisonné.
Cynthia and Edward Lasker, Los Angeles 1963; Private collection, Los Angeles