Max Ernst. Stratified Rocks, Nature's Gift of Gneiss Lava Iceland Moss 2 kinds of lungwort 2 kinds of ruptures of the perinaeum growths of the heart b) the same thing in a well-polished little box somewhat more expensive (schichtgestein naturgabe aus gneis lava isländisch moos 2 sorten lungenkraut 2 sorten dammriss/herzgewächse b) dasselbe in fein poliertem kästchen etwas teurer). 1920

Max Ernst

Stratified Rocks, Nature's Gift of Gneiss Lava Iceland Moss 2 kinds of lungwort 2 kinds of ruptures of the perinaeum growths of the heart b) the same thing in a well-polished little box somewhat more expensive (schichtgestein naturgabe aus gneis lava isländisch moos 2 sorten lungenkraut 2 sorten dammriss/herzgewächse b) dasselbe in fein poliertem kästchen etwas teurer)

1920

Medium
Gouache and pencil on printed paper on cardstock
Dimensions
7 1/2 x 9 1/2" (19.1 x 24.1 cm)
Credit
Purchase
Object number
280.1937
Copyright
© 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Department
Drawings and Prints
This work is on view on Floor 2, in an Exhibitions Gallery, with 99 other works online.
Max Ernst has 234 works  online.
There are 14,913 drawings online.

The source for this overpainting is an equine anatomical diagram from a teaching-aids supply catalogue (the Bibliotheca Paedagogica, 1914), which the artist turned upside down. Ernst’s inscription reads: "Stratified rocks, nature’s gift of gneiss lava Icelandic moss 2 kinds of lungwort 2 kinds of ruptures of the perinaeum growths of the heart b) the same thing in a well-polished little box somewhat more expensive."

Gallery label from Dada, June 18–September 11, 2006

The source for this overpainting is a color lithograph showing the anatomy of a horse from the Bibliotheca Paedagogica (1914), a teaching-aids supply catalogue. Ernst inverted this image and added gouache and pencil to transform the horse’s innards into a geological cross section. The punning, nonsensical text handwritten on the secondary support offers several interpretive clues, like “stratified rocks” and “gneiss lava Iceland moss,” which suggest that this is a landscape. The artist later wrote of the Bibliotheca that “the sheer absurdity of the collection provoked a sudden intensification of the visionary faculties in me.”

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.
[Hans Arp]
Tristan Tzara, Paris
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchased from Tristan Tzara, 1937

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