Aug 26, 2013

Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbre

Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbre


Max Ernst

(German, 1891-1976)

Oil on canvas

Framed: 87.3 x 171.1 x 5.7 cm (34 3/8 x 67 3/8 x 2 1/4 in.); Unframed: 68 x 150 cm (26 3/4 x 59 1/16 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 2002.55

Did you know?

Scientific analysis of this painting shows that the black background was added last.


A frightening fish isn't the only strange thing about this scene; it's also painted in an unusual way. To create more abstract areas in the center of the painting, Ernst lifted paint from the surface using perhaps a cloth or sheet of paper, allowing abstract patterns to form in the process. Called decalcomania, this method blots paint in ways that resemble plants and minerals. Elsewhere in the work, smoothly painted fish scales seem almost traditional by comparison.

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