Max Ernst. Napoleon in the Wilderness. 1941

Max Ernst Napoleon in the Wilderness 1941

  • Not on view

Ernst began this painting in France but completed it in Santa Monica, California, soon after escaping war-torn Europe. For the base layer he used decalcomania, a semi-automatic technique in which paint is applied with a sheet of glass or paper to create unexpected textures. He subsequently inverted the composition and used the same process to manipulate the landscape and its strange inhabitants, which evoke a world of flux and decay. The finished painting, Ernst wrote, was “possibly an unconscious expression of my feelings at the time; for its central figure is not a triumphant Napoleon but a Napoleon in the wilderness on St. Helena in exile and defeat.”

Gallery label from Max Ernst: Beyond Painting, September 23, 2017-January 1, 2018.
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
18 1/4 x 15" (46.3 x 38.1 cm)
Credit
Purchase and exchange
Object number
12.1942
Copyright
© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Department
Painting and Sculpture

Installation views

MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos.

If you notice an error, please contact us at digital@moma.org.

This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.

The artist
Peggy Guggenheim, Venice. Acquired from the artist.
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired from Peggy Guggenheim by exchange, 1942

Provenance research is a work in progress, and is frequently updated with new information. If you have any questions or information to provide about the listed works, please email provenance@moma.org or write to:

Provenance Research Project
The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019

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.