André Masson. Praying Mantis. c. 1942

André Masson Praying Mantis c. 1942

  • Not on view

The praying mantis became a kind of totem for Surrealist artists, for whom the ritual in which the female insect devours the male after mating was a compelling example of the link between sex and death. Masson raised what he called the "admirable insects" in his home, and they began to recur in his work beginning in 1934—the same year the Surrealist journal Minotaure featured an influential article on the insect by the French sociologist Roger Caillois. The insect's markedly anthropomorphic form, apparent in these drawings, increased its appeal for these artists. A bronze sculpture by Alberto Giacometti imagines a woman, in the form of a praying mantis,in the throes of either death or pleasure.

Gallery label from Exquisite Corpses: Drawing and Disfiguration, March 14–July 9, 2012.
Medium
Ink on paper
Dimensions
13 3/4 x 23" (34.9 x 58.4 cm)
Credit
Gift of Philip Johnson
Object number
595.1970
Copyright
© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Department
Drawings and Prints

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at firenze@scalarchives.com. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA's Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.