Max Ernst (1891-1976)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION
Max Ernst (1891-1976)

Le soleil sur terre

Max Ernst (1891-1976)
Le soleil sur terre
signed 'max ernst' (lower right)
oil on paper
10½ x 8½ in. (27 x 22 cm.)
Painted in 1960
Alexander Iolas Gallery, New York.
Thomas Gibson Fine Art, London.
Galerie Beyeler, Basel.
Acquired from the above by the family of the present owner in 1971.
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.
Sale room notice
Please note the correct dimensions for this lot are 9 3/4 x 7 in. (24.8 x 18 cm.) and not as stated in the printed catalogue, and as a result the work is slightly smaller than the catalogue illustration suggests.

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Giovanna Bertazzoni
Giovanna Bertazzoni

Lot Essay

This work will be included in the forthcoming eighth volume of the Max Ernst catalogue raisonné currently being prepared by Werner Spies, Sigrid Metken and Jürgen Pech.

Max Ernst's Le soleil sur terre shows a large, darkly glowing sun rising against a lapis sky, with a craggy, almost lunar landscape below. Through this work run electric streaks of red; meanwhile, a latticework of yellow-green veins appear to make up mysterious organic continents upon the surface of the orb. This work has a nocturnal atmosphere, yet is filled with a pulsating sense of colour and crepuscular light.

Ernst often began his works by taking existing patterns and forms and manipulating them. This was the case with his frottage and decalcomania pictures, which allowed chance-driven shapes to emerge which the artist would then shape to his will, prompted by his subconscious and the suggestions that emerged in his mind. In Le soleil sur terre, Ernst in actual fact used one of his own earlier works as a springboard for creativity, a lithograph entitled La forêt à l'aube of 1958. He has taken a section of the lithograph and rotated it, colouring and overpainting some of the existing forest-like structures; over this are the complex patterns of the sun and the sky, which resemble the grain of wood, hinting that Ernst has combined a number of techniques in this picture, revealing his constant drive for innovation. At the same time, it is intriguing to find Ernst taking the momentum of his earlier work and allowing it to find a new incarnation in this brooding Surreal skyscape.

Le soleil sur terre was created over half a decade after Ernst's return to Europe, having spent a number of years in the United States of America during and after the Second World War. While living there, he had spent time with his wife Dorothea Tanning; the landscape of Sedona appears to have infused Le soleil sur terre, as well as the forest-like forms of his pre-war pictures, which often had hints of the forests of his native Germany

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