André Masson (1896-1987)

29 january, 2004 - 19 april, 2004 /
Sabatini Building, Floor 3

Contributions by André Masson (Balagny sur Thérain, France, 1896 - Paris, 1987) to the art of his time constitute the main axis of the exhibition: André Masson (1896-1987). The exhibition is the first retrospective dedicated to the author in the last twenty years. It highlights, in addition to a special emphasis on the artist's painting, the links of his work to the literary world and his own role as a writer as well as his deep relationship with Spain.

Masson’s career is initially inspired by Paul Cézanne. After that, we see his interest in Cubism grow due to his friendship with painter Juan Gris and the influence of the first Surrealism organised by André Breton, who discovers in Masson the origin of "automatism". An approach to Expressionism can also been seen in Masson’s production, as well as a return to surreal approaches in transformation during American exile and the arrival of a quasi-abstraction, influenced by Eastern culture and Zen philosophy

However, throughout all these moments there are a number of constants that nurture Masson’s artistic creation: nature, metamorphosis, mythological themes, violence, love and death. The interest in nature is not part of Surrealist concerns, but some of Masson’s most significant contributions to artistic surrealism are produced along this line. "Earthy surrealism" which reached such significance in Spain, has one of the most evident reference points in Masson's work.

The dramatic experiences from the front during the First World War leave a deep impression on his complex personality and a trace on his entire existence. Violence in the animal kingdom, among men, destruction and chaos, are some of his other constants, as well as the relationship between love and death, possession and power.

Mythological themes begin to appear constantly from 1932; a mythological world where he finds constant sources of knowledge and inspiration. The Labyrinth, unnatural love of Pasiphae with the Minotaur and Theseus and Ariadne are in continuous relationships throughout all his work, along with his passions, the violence of love, sex, the metamorphoses of nature itself, and in short, life and death.

The richness and complexity of Masson’s work and the different worlds and styles that he is interested in are chronologically presented in this exhibition; they reveal the multiplicity of interests and the different periods of his work, with special attention to the Spanish stage.

Exhibition´s details

Organized by: 
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Josefina Alix