Max Ernst. Une Semaine de bonté ou les sept éléments, Capitaux. 1934.  (Collages executed 1933-1934).

Max Ernst

Une Semaine de bonté ou les sept éléments, Capitaux

1934. (Collages executed 1933-1934).

Not on view
the artist
Five volume serial novel with 182 line blocks after collages
page (each): 10 5/8 x 8 1/16" (27 x 20.5 cm)
Éditions Jeanne Bucher, Paris
Georges Duval, Paris
The Louis E. Stern Collection
Object number
© 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Illustrated Book
Drawings and Prints
This work is not on view.
There are 1 work in this illustrated book online.
Max Ernst has 145 works online.
There are 3,982 illustrated books online.

Ernst was aligned with both the Dada and the Surrealist movements. Une Semaine de Bonté is one of his visual "collage novels": associative sequences of images made by combining illustrations from nineteenth– and early–twentieth–century pulp novels, scientific journals, mail–order catalogues, and natural–history magazines.

Gallery label from Wunderkammer: A Century of Curiosities, July 30–November 10, 2008

Additional text

A major figure in both the German Dada and French Surrealist movements, Max Ernst was a prolific and experimental printmaker who used printing as a means of going beyond painting. Between 1912 and 1974, he made more than five hundred lithographs, etchings, and linoleum cuts, many of which appeared as book illustrations.

In Let There Be Fashion, Down with Art, Ernst's first major print project, he mapped out many of the motifs of his later work and also paid homage to the imaginary tableaux of Giorgio de Chirico. In a revolt against Expressionist printmaking, Ernst drew elements culled from commonplace printed advertisements onto a lithographic stone using a gestureless mechanical line. The anti-art sentiment reflected in this style, and the phrase "Down with Art," express the spirit of both nihilism and nonsense that was a pervasive aspect of Dada activities in Cologne at the time.

Encouraged by Surrealist poet Paul Éluard, Ernst moved from Cologne to Paris in 1922. Exploring the practice of many painters and poets who wished to plumb the unconscious as a source for their art, Ernst experimented with the semiautomatic process of frottage—rubbings made from textured objects or surfaces. The patterns and textures generated by such rubbings were the starting point for his images, as seen in the portfolio Histoire Naturelle.

Ernst also collaborated with poets, including André Breton, Tristan Tzara, and others, by providing illustrations for their texts. In 1929 he made his first "collage novel," incorporating a technique central to his experiments with the effects of chance. He created a series of collages with imagery culled from nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century pulp novels, scientific journals, and natural-history magazines and arranged them in a sequence as pages. He then printed these collages by photomechanical means to transform them into the seamless images he desired. Like popular serial stories, Ernst released Une Semaine de bonté in the form of five consecutive volumes that evoke erotic violence and intrigue, as well as humor.

Publication excerpt from Deborah Wye, Artists and Prints: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2004

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