Germann Auctionhouse Zurich
Lot 27 / Important Paintings, Sculptures, Watercolors, Drawings and MultiplesMonday, 08 June 2015, 06:00 pm

Max Ernst, Au coeur de l'hiver

Lot 27

Max Ernst, 1891-1976 (DE)

Au coeur de l'hiver, 1957

Oil on canvas.
H 555 mm W 460 mm.

(Frame). Signed lower right: max ernst.

CHF200'000 / 300'000
EUR180'000 / 270'000
USD200'000 / 320'000

Hammer Price: CHF 125'000


Important private Basle property.

Paris, Galerie Creuzevault.
Max Ernst, January - February 1958.

W. Spies, S. & G. Metken.
Max Ernst, Werke 1954 - 1963.
Cologne, DuMont, 1998.
No. 3260, page 111, illustration.

Information about the artist

The surrealist painting 'Nu allongé et personnage' combines a radiant mountain panorama with a reclining woman and fantastic animal creatures in the front section. The painting weaves together various typical elements of Max Ernst's style into a multi-layered pictorial puzzle, not only in terms of content but also in the manner of painting. It is not surprising that the Swiss conductor and art patron Paul Sacher was enthusiastic about this painting at the time. As an exchange of letters proves, he gave it to the son of his friend Conrad Beck as a birth gift in 1934 and it remained in the family for several decades thereafter until it first appeared on the market in 1988. However, it is not only the artist's typical innovative painterly elements and the provenance that make this object particularly exciting.

The painting was created during a biographically very interesting phase of the artist's life. In the autumn of 1933, a brief, passionate love arose between him and the Swiss artist Meret Oppenheim. The letters that Max Ernst wrote to the artist during this period attest not only to the intensity of this amour fou but also to the artistic, philosophical and political exchange between the two. While the political climate deteriorated in 1934, Max Ernst also suffered from the geographical separation from Meret Oppenheim. He spent the summer with his friend Alberto Giacometti in his summer studio in Maloja in Switzerland, where he made his first sculptural attempts on granite blocks. In autumn 1934, Meret Oppenheim unexpectedly ended the relationship, but the two artists remained in contact for a long time beyond that. In October 1934, Max Ernst finally appeared for the first time among his surrealist artist friends at an exhibition at the Kunsthaus Zurich. The preface he wrote for the exhibition became a classic of surrealist theoretical writings.
It was probably against this eventful background that the painting 'Nu allongé et personnage' was created. A work of art that still fascinates the viewer nearly a century after it's creation.