Max Ernst. The Blind Swimmer (Nageur aveugle). 1934

Max Ernst

The Blind Swimmer (Nageur aveugle)

1934

Medium
Oil and graphite on canvas
Dimensions
36 3/8 x 29" (92.3 x 73.5 cm)
Credit
Gift of Mrs. Pierre Matisse and the Helena Rubenstein Fund
Object number
228.1968
Copyright
© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Department
Painting and Sculpture
This work is not on view.
Max Ernst has 235 works  online.
There are 2,383 paintings online.

The mysterious imagery of this painting recalls Ernst’s interest in exploiting the visual language of science (and specifically biology and geology) in his Dada overpaintings and collages of the late 1910s and 1920s. Although a specific source image has not been identified, the impression is of a highly magnified cross section of some sort of plant ovary or botanical specimen, writ large and translated into oil on canvas. The precision of Ernst’s lines, some in graphite pencil, contrast with his soft blending of pigments, which surround the elliptically erotic central motif with a luminous glow.

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.
The artist
Art of This Century Gallery, New York
Mrs. Patricia Kane Matisse, New York
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired from Mrs. Pierre Matisse, New York. Gift and purchase, 1968

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).

If you would like to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA, please contact Scala Archives (all geographic locations) at firenze@scalarchives.com.

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.