André Masson. Battle of Fishes. 1926

André Masson

Battle of Fishes

1926

Medium
Sand, gesso, oil, pencil, and charcoal on canvas
Dimensions
14 1/4 x 28 3/4" (36.2 x 73 cm)
Credit
Purchase
Object number
260.1937
Copyright
© 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Department
Painting and Sculpture
This work is not on view.
André Masson has 94 works online.
There are 2,309 paintings online.

Masson made Battle of Fishes by freely applying gesso to areas of the canvas, throwing sand on it, then brushing away the excess. The resulting contours suggested forms "although almost always irrational ones," according to the artist around which he rapidly sketched and applied paint directly from the tube. The image that emerged suggests a savage underwater battle between sharp–toothed fish. Masson, who was physically and spiritually wounded during World War I, joined the Surrealist group in 1924. He believed that, if left to chance, pictorial compositions would reveal the sadism of all living creatures.

Gallery label from 2007

This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
The artist. Until 1927
Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler/Galerie Simon, Paris. Purchased from the artist, 1927
Galerie Jeanne Bucher-Myrbor, Paris. Purchased from Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler/Galerie Simon, 1930 – 1937
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchased from Galerie Jeanne Bucher-Myrbor, Paris, October 1937

If you have any questions or information to provide about the listed works, please e-mail provenance@moma.org or write to:

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

Licensing of MoMA images and videos is handled by Art Resource (North America) and Scala Archives (all other geographic locations). All requests should be addressed directly to those agencies, which supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@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.