Viewing Room

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L’Esprit de Locarno

Collage on paper
Titled lower left under the collage

Jean Cocteau, Paris
Nicole Stéphane (actress in " Les Enfants terribles ")
Private collection, Paris

- "La Révolution surréaliste", n° 12, 5thyear, 15 December 1929, repr. p. 23.
- Werner Spies, Max Ernst, Werke 1925-1929, Menil Foundation, Houston, Texas and DuMont Buchverlag, Koln, 1976, n° 1401, p. 312.
- Werner Spies, Max Ernst, les collages inventaires et contradictions, éditions Gallimard, 1984, repr. under ref. n° 206.

Lugano, Lugano Arte e Cultura, Meret Oppenheim and her Artist Friends, 11 February -  28 May 2017

Among the Surrealists, Max Ernst was recognized as the master of collage. He created the first these compositions in 1920, playfully putting together fragments from illustrated papers.

The Spirit of Locarnodates from 1929 and is one of a series titled “Pieces Chosen from the History of France.” It was part of a project for an illustrated book, a satirical rewriting of the history of France, which was never finished. Three of the four collages were published in the last number of La Révolution Surréaliste, which came out on December 15, 1929. The three were: Jeanne de Hachette et Charles le Téméraire(p. 59), Nostradamus, Blanche de Castille et le petit Saint Louis(p. 48), and L’Esprit de Locarno(p.23).

Ernst’s composition, which captures his real genius, refers to the 1925 Pact of Locarno, which symbolized the reintegration of Germany into the European world and the belief in a future of peace.