Germann Auctionhouse Zurich
Lot 49 / Important Paintings, Sculptures, Watercolors, Drawings and PrintsMonday, 07 June 2021, 06:00 pm

Ernst Max, Nu allongé et personnage

Lot 49

Ernst Max, 1891-1976 (D)

Nu allongé et personnage, 1934

Oil on canvas.

H 205 mm W 255 mm.
Signed lower right: Max Ernst.

*CHF250'000 / 350'000
*EUR230'000 / 320'000
*USD280'000 / 390'000

Paul Sacher, Basel, 1934;
Prof. Dr. Eugen Beck (son of Conrad Beck (1901-1989), composer and close friend of Paul Sacher), in 1934 from Paul Sacher received as a gift (owner's mark on stretcher);
Galerie Kornfeld, Berne, 17. June 1988, Lot 49;
Fuji Television Gallery, Tokyo;
Private Collection.

Okazaki, Okazaki City Museum & Wakayama, Museum of Modern Art. Max Ernst. No. 1-22, 2001, Page 46;
New York, Helly Nahmad Gallery. Le Chant de la Grenouille, the Surrealists in Conversation, 29. October - 13. December 2014.

The authenticity of this artwork was confirmed by Werner Spies and Dr. Jürgen Pech. The work will be included in the supplement to the Max Ernst Oeuvre-Katalog.

There is the request, to receive this work as a loan during the Exhibition of the Max Ernst Retrospective at the Palazzo Reale in Milan, October 2022 - February 2023.

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.