André Masson (French, 1987)

André Masson (French, 1896–1987) was a painter and graphic artist who promoted Abstract Expressionism and Surrealism in his works. Masson was born in Balagne, France, and moved to Brussels, Belgium, in 1904. He attended Academie Royale des Beaux-Arts from 1907 to 1912, when he moved to Paris.

In Paris, Masson was admitted to the Paul Baudoin studio at the Ecole National Superieure des Beaux-Arts, where he remained until war broke out. He joined the army in 1914, but, after becoming severely wounded three years later, he spent several months at a military hospital. This trauma found its way into his early works, which depicted battle scenes, death, blood, birds, and fish, such as Furious Suns and Battle of Fishes. Masson returned to Paris in 1922, and was influenced by André Derain (French, 1880–1954) and Cubism before joining the Surrealist artists in 1924. One year later, these artists held their first exhibition, in the Pierre gallery, and Masson participated. The artist broke away from the group five years later, in protest against André Breton's claim to leadership of the group. Masson joined the Surrealist circle again in 1937, and tried his hand at the Surrealists' favorite activity of automatic drawing, from which he developed a new technique that retained the element of chance. He became the leader of this new technique, which was called automatism.

In 1939, Masson migrated to the United States and was a great influence on many American painters, notably Jackson Pollock (American, 1912–1956). Six years later, he went back to France and produced several landscape paintings in Aix-en-Provence; these paintings were shown from 1955 to 1964 at Documentas One through Three, in 1964 in Berlin and Amsterdam, and in 1972 at the Venice Biennale. In between, he did several paintings, notably the 1966 ceiling painting for the Parisian Théatre Odéon. Masson died in Paris, France, in 1987.

Timeline

1896
Born: in Balagne, France
1904
Moved to Brussels, Belgium where he attended the academy of fine arts
1912
Admitted to the Paul Baudoin studio at the Ecole National Superieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France
1917
Severely injured and spent months in an army hospital during the war
1922
Returned to Paris, where his art was influenced by André Derrain and Cubism
1924
Met André Breton and joined the Surrealist Movement
1925
Took part in the first surrealist exhibition at the Pierre gallery
1929
Broke with Breton and the Surrealist group
1934
Fascist riots in Paris. Moved to Tossa de Mar, Spain
1942
Fled to the USA before the Nazi occupation of France, settled in New Preston, CT
1945
Returned to France
1966
Produced a ceiling painting for the Parisian Théatre Odéon, Paris, France
1987
Died: in Paris, France

Exhibitions

2012
Galerie Jacques Bailly, Paris, France (solo)
2009
André Masson: Retrospektive, Die Galerie, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (solo)
Picasso et ses amis, Galerie für Kunst von Picasso-Conzen, Beck & Eggeling, Dusseldorf, Germany
2007
André Masson: Sur-Reality, Trigg Ison Fine Art, West Hollywood, CA (solo)
André Masson 'Grenzüberschreitung, Hachmeister Galerie, Münster, Germany (solo)
2002
André Masson Inside/Outside Surrealism: Works from the Gotlieb Collection, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada; McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College, Boston, MA (solo)
1996
André Masson in America: (1941-5), Zabriskie Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
André Masson, Galerie Guy Baertschi, Geneva, Switzerland (solo)
André Masson Work of the Forties, Kouros Gallery, New York, NY
1995
André Masson, The Mayor Gallery, London, UK (solo)
1993
Galerie Jacques Bailly, Paris, France (solo)
1989
Galerie Jacques Bailly, Paris, France (solo)
1987
Retrospective, Hayward Gallery, London, UK (solo)
1984
Galerie Jacques Bailly, Paris, France (solo)
1976
Retrospective, MOMA, New York, NY (solo)
Retrospective of drawings, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France (solo)
1973
Recent paintings, Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris, France
1973
Galerie Jacques Bailly, Paris, France (solo)
1970
Galleria Schwarz, Milan, Italy (solo)
1968
Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris, France
1967
Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain
1965
Rétrospective, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, France (solo)
1964
Retrospective, Akademie der Kunst, Berlin, Germany (solo)
1963
Galerie Gerard Cramer, Geneva, Switzerland
1962
Marlborough Fine Art, London, UK (solo)
1960
Svensk-Franska Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden (solo)
International Surrealist Exhibition, New York, NY
1959
Retrospective, Galleria Bussola, Turin, Italy (solo)
1958
Retrospective: engravings, L'Albertina, Vienna, Austria (solo)
Saidenberg Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
"Retrospective", Marlborough Fine Art, London, UK (solo)
Edgardo Acosto Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA
1956
Galerie Lucien Blanc, Aix-en-Provence, France
1955
Retrospective, Leicester Galleries, London, UK (solo)
1954
Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (won Grand Prix National for Painting)
1950
André Masson and Alberto Giacometti, Kunsthalle, Basel, Switzerland
1949
Terre Erotique, Place Vendome, Paris, France (closed by the police)
1948
Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris, France
1946
Palais des Beaux Arts, Paris, France (solo)
1942
First Papers of Surrealism, Coordinating Council of French Relief Societies, New York, NY
1940
International Surrealist Exhibition, Mexico City, Mexico
1938
Exposition Internationale du Surrealisme, Paris, France
1936
International Surrealist Exhibition, London, UK
1934
Galerie Simon, Paris, France
1930
Gallery of Living Art, New York, NY
1926
Galerie Surréaliste, Paris, France
1925
Galerie Pierre, Paris, France
1924
Galerie Simon, Paris, France (solo)

Literature

2008
Clark V. Poling, Andre Masson and the surrealist self, New Haven, 2008
2006
Maurizio Vanni, André Masson, La ricerca dell'oltre, Text in ital., dt. U. engl., Modena, Galleria Modenarte 2006
2005
André Masson (1896 - 1987): les grands livres illustrés, ou le monde merveilleux de l'oeuvre gravé en couleur, Ausst. Kat. Cannes, 2005
2004
André Masson - Eine Mythologie der Natur, Ausst. Kat. Museum Würth, Künzelsau, 2004
2003
André Masson: Bilder aus dem Labyrinth der Seele, Ausst. Kat. Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt, 2003
1998
André Masson: Rebell des Surrealismus, Ausst. Kat. Ludwig-Museum Koblenz, 1998
1994
Lawrence Saphire/Patrick Cramer, André Masson: The illustrated books, catalogue raisonné, Genève 1994
1988
Roger Passeron, André Masson, General catalogue of the sculptures, Torino 1988