Max Ernst (1891-1976)
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 2… 显示更多 Property from a Private American Collection 
Max Ernst (1891-1976)

Les asperges de la lune

Max Ernst (1891-1976)
Les asperges de la lune
signed and numbered 'Max Ernst V/VI' (on the side of the base)
bronze painted white
Height: 63¾ in. (161.9 cm) excluding white square wooden base
Conceived in 1935, cast and painted in 1973
Galerie Beyeler, Basel, by whom acquired directly from the artist in 1973.
Private collection, New York, by whom acquired from the above in 1986.

Exh. cat., Fantastic Art Dada Surrealism, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1936, no. 371, p. 224 (the plaster).
Cahiers d'art (ed.), Max Ernst, Oeuvres de 1919 à 1936, Paris, 1937, p. 89 (the plaster illustrated).
Tokyo, Nippon Salon, Album surréaliste. Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme, June 1937, no. 43 (the plaster illustrated).
Exh. cat., First papers of Surrealism, Coordinating Council of French Relief Societies, New York, 1942 (the plaster).
A. Barr, Painting and Sculpture in the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1948, p. 292 (the plaster illustrated).
R. Motherwell (ed.), Max Ernst, Beyond Painting and the other Writings by the Artist and his Friends, The Documents of Modern Art, New York, 1948, p. 85 (the plaster illustrated).
Exh. cat., Max Ernst, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1961, no. 156 (the plaster).
L. R. Lippard, 'Max Ernst and a sculpture of fantasy', in Art International, February 1967, p. 38 (the plaster illustrated, p. 39). J. Russell, Max Ernst, Life and Work, London, 1967, no. 125, p. 352 (the plaster illustrated, p. 328).
W. S. Rubin, Dada and Surrealist Art, New York, 1968, p. 246 (the plaster illustrated).
R. de Solier, 'Hommage à Max Ernst', in XXe siècle, 1971, p. 129 (the plaster).
Exh. cat., Max Ernst, Das innere Gesicht, Kunsthalle, Hamburg, 1970, p. 34 (the plaster).
H. H. Arnason, History of Modern Art. Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, New York, 1971, p. 397 (the plaster illustrated).
W. Spies, Max Ernst Werke 1929-1938, Cologne, 1979, no. 2161,1 (illustrated).
Exh. cat., Max Ernst, Retrospektive 1979, Haus der Kunst, Munich, 1979, no. 230 (another cast illustrated, p. 302).
Exh. cat.,Bildhauertechniken, Dimensionen des Plastischen, Neue Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin, 1981, no. 48 (another cast illustrated). A. Franzke, Skulpturen und Objekte von Malern des 20. Jahrhunderts, Cologne, 1982, p. 110.
Exh. cat., Max Ernst, Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul, 1983, no. 59, p. 140 (another cast illustrated, p. 158).
Exh. cat., Max Ernst, A retrospective, The Tate Gallery, London, 1991, no. 183, p. 379 (another cast illustrated, p. 212).
Exh. cat., Max Ernst, Sculpture Sculptures, Milan, 1996, p. 134 (another cast illustrated).
Exh. cat., Max Ernst, Sculptures, Maisons, Paysages, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1998, no. 59, p. 312 (another cast illustrated, p. 110; the plaster illustrated p. 111).
Exh. cat., Max Ernst, Galerie Daniel Malingue, Paris, 2003, p. 150 (another cast illustrated, p. 151).
Basel, Merian-Park, Skulptur im 20. Jahrhundert, June - September 1984, no. 61 (illustrated).

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.
Please note that the present lot was cast in a numbered edition of six (of which two were painted white by the artist) plus two artist's proof in 1973-74.


Les Asperges de la lune (Lunar Asparagus) is one of a group of around nine major freestanding sculptures that Max Ernst began to make on his return to Paris after an influential visit to Zurich in 1934. Having travelled to the Zurich Kunsthaus to partake in the large group exhibition Was is Surrealismus?, Ernst had been particularly impressed by the sculpture of Arp and Giacometti. On his return he set about making his own freestanding personnages in plaster. In 1973 Max Ernst, together with the help of The Museum of Moder Art in New York, set about casting bronzes from the Museum's paster. Further more Ernst decided to paint the present cast in white to reflect the colours of the original plaster cast. He evidently thought the white colouring of the plaster version of 'lunar asparagus' was appropriate.
Les Asperges de la lune comprises two personnages standing on long thin asparagus-like stems. These forms echo a frottage from his 1925 Histoire Naturelle entitled Fausses positions. They also recall the shapes of those of non-European sculptures such as the wood-carved clubs of Easter Island one of two figures from Lake Sentani in Papua New Guinea belonging to Ernst's dealer Jaques Viot.

Seemingly sprouting into mysterious life from their vegetal beginnings, the twin personages of this work - moon-figures according to their title - have been created by being bestowed with faces. For the eyes of one, Ernst, as he was to do in other sculptures, used casts of a unique found-object he had obtained from Roland Penrose. As Penrose recalled, it was a small pebble that he had brought back from Egypt. 'Polished by the sand, spherical in shape like a cherry stone, it was encircled by horns like the crescent of the new moon. On my return to Paris Max Ernst seized upon it as a surrealist object of significance and putting it in a plush jeweller's box he kept it beside him or exhibited it as a rare treasure trove among his paintings.' (Roland Penrose quoted in exh. cat., Max Ernst sculture, Turin, 1996, p. 67).