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.