The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of July 13, 2024

The Battle of the Penthesilea

The Battle of the Penthesilea

(Belgian, 1910–1985)
Image: 17 x 22.9 cm (6 11/16 x 9 in.); Paper: 18.2 x 24.1 cm (7 3/16 x 9 1/2 in.)
© 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Location: not on view


Ubac’s Penthesilea series (1937–39) is named for an 1808 play by poet Hermann von Kleist about the queen of the Amazons, the female warriors. This print, the finished work, is a photograph of a thick collage of cut-up photographs set on a black background and re-photographed using darkroom manipulations, including solarization. Bits of bodies, rope, and wood can be discerned but the end product is distant from reality, in keeping with its mythological origins. The chaotic composition and fragmented, disfigured bodies convey the frenzy and horrors of battle, a subject that would soon become all too real in Europe.
  • The artist, Paris
    Victor Brauner [1903-1966], Paris
    Tuesday, October 6, 1998
    (Christie's, New York, NY, Oct. 6, 1998, no. 296)
    David Tunkl, Los Angeles, CA
    (G. Ray Hawkins Gallery, Los Angeles, CA)
    David Raymond [b.1979], New York, NY
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Cleveland Museum of Art, Tom E. Hinson, Ian Walker, and Lisa Kurzner. Forbidden Games: Surrealist and Modernist Photography : the David Raymond Collection in the Cleveland Museum of Art. 2014. Mentioned: p. 136; reproduced: p. 138; mentioned: p. 238.
    Combalía Dexeus, Victoria. París y los surrealistas. Bilbao: Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2005. Reproduced: p. 252.
  • Forbidden Games: Surrealist and Modernist Photography. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (October 19, 2014-January 11, 2015).
    París y los Surrealistas.. Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Spain (February 18-May 22, 2005); Museo de Bellas Artes, Bilbao (June 20-September 18, 2005).
  • {{cite web|title=The Battle of the Penthesilea |url=false|author=Raoul Ubac|year=1937|access-date=13 July 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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