Max Ernst. The Little Tear Gland That Says Tic Tac (La Petite fistule lacrimale qui dit tic tac). 1920

Max Ernst

The Little Tear Gland That Says Tic Tac (La Petite fistule lacrimale qui dit tic tac)


Gouache, pencil, and ink on printed wallpaper on paperboard
17 1/2 x 13" (44.5 x 33 cm)
Object number
© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Drawings and Prints
This work is not on view.
Max Ernst has 235 works  online.
There are 15,092 drawings online.

To make this work, Ernst started with a wallpaper fragment, probably taken from a wall in his home. He added gouache in clever angles at the bottom, transforming the wallpaper’s repeating pattern into an apparently threedimensional forest. To further heighten the tension between flatness and depth, he placed a blue sun-like gear behind the printed stripes at the top, as if floating in the distance, and a blue stream flowing toward us at the bottom. In his nonsensical Dada title, Ernst plays with the notion of an eye—the organ that controls vision and reveals emotion—being mechanized like a clock: tic tac.

Gallery label from Max Ernst: Beyond Painting, September 23, 2017-January 1, 2018

This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
André Breton, Paris. Given to him by the artist
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchased from André Breton, 1935

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