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
© 2021 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Department
Painting and Sculpture

Installation views

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

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