André Masson. Battle of Fishes. 1926
André Masson

Battle of Fishes

Not on view
Sand, gesso, oil, pencil, and charcoal on canvas
14 1/4 x 28 3/4" (36.2 x 73 cm)
Object number
© 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Painting and Sculpture

Masson made Battle of Fishes by freely applying gesso to areas of the canvas, throwing sand on it, then brushing away the excess. The resulting contours suggested forms "although almost always irrational ones," according to the artist around which he rapidly sketched and applied paint directly from the tube. The image that emerged suggests a savage underwater battle between sharp–toothed fish. Masson, who was physically and spiritually wounded during World War I, joined the Surrealist group in 1924. He believed that, if left to chance, pictorial compositions would reveal the sadism of all living creatures.

Gallery label from 2007

Provenance Research Project
This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
The artist. Until 1927
Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler/Galerie Simon, Paris. Purchased from the artist, 1927
Galerie Jeanne Bucher-Myrbor, Paris. Purchased from Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler/Galerie Simon, 1930 – 1937
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchased from Galerie Jeanne Bucher-Myrbor, Paris, October 1937

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This work is not on view.
André Masson has 92 works online.
There are 2,048 paintings online.