A U G U S T 10,   2011

André Masson is less known to lovers of Surrealism in Russia than other brilliant representatives of this trend, such as Salvador Dali, Juan Miro, René Magritte and Max Ernst. However, it was Masson and Miro who were among the first artists to join the Surrealist group founded by André Breton. The group originated among writers, such as Louis Aragon, Paul Éluard and Guillaume Apollinaire, who expressed their views in manifestos written for stage productions and on other occasions. Incidentally, Picasso, who also stood at the sources of Surrealism, never joined the movement, though being under its influence.

The main idea of Surrealism – Surreality as a mixture of dream and reality – was very close to Masson, who from youth was interested in Sigmund Freud’s ideas.

While changing his painting techniques in different periods of his creative work, Masson continued exploring the theme of the subconscious, which led to the appearance of his philosophical pictures, such as Gradiva (1939), Goethe: The Metamorphosis of Plants (1940) and Ariadne’s Dream (1941).
14 Once again about Masson


91 Once again about Masson

To the end of his life André Masson remained true to the Surrealist traditions, conveying them in works on absolutely different themes. All the more interesting it is to see paintings of a mature artist.

For four months, from December 17, 2010, the Montparnasse museum of Paris held an exhibition, Un nomade a Paris: André Masson. On show were 60 works by Masson celebrating Paris, the city to which the artist always returned from wherever he lived. Done between 1921 and 1967, canvases, pastels, ink and charcoal drawings, lithographs and collages were for the first time displayed side by side.111 225x300 Once again about Masson

One could see Paris streets of the liberation period painted in 1945, the Eiffel Tower in sunrays and a bridge across the Seine. His Paris cycle was exhibited at Montparnasse, the most artistic part of Paris, where Masson lived in the 1920s.

Photographs of Paris streets and squares dating to the same period as Masson’s pictures were also on show. There were amazing genre photographs of prostitutes from the famous Red Lights street of Paris. In the 1950s Masson did a cycle of paintings about Les Filles de la rue Saint Denis. Canvases showing the La Villette slaughterhouse and scenes of the famous Les Halles meat rows were accompanied by photographs of the last day of the operation of the Ventre de Paris in January 1973, when it was moved from the center of the city to its environs.