Weekend Artists Series, Part 3: André Masson

Resultado de imagen de andre masson
(André Masson, 1896-1987)

I know I spent a little more time on this artists, but he is well worth it. One of my favourite surrealists (and I am not a big fan of surrealism). Masson had a way of making something extremely creative out of a movement that was more self-aggrandising than anything else…

André Masson was born in Balagny-sur-Thérain, France, however his family moved to Brussels in 1903 and there, in the Kingdom of Belgium, he studied at the Académie royale des beaux-arts de Bruxelles (in French) or in Dutch: Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten van Brussel.

In 1920 he moved to Paris and begins to get familiar with some artists and writers and eventually meets Max Jacob. Max Jacob was the French poet, painter, writer, critic, friend of Picasso and known for his mystical novel “Saint Matorel” (1911); “Le laboratoire central” (1921), and “La défense de Tartuffe” (1919). During the first years of the decade his work shows evidence of the influence of Rodin and of Sade in his erotic drawings and watercolours. He also painted landscapes, especially forests, but he also painted nature mort (still life) and other figurative paintings. His style, at the time, was cubist.

Then in 1922, Picasso’s own dealer, Kahnweiler, offers Masson a contract. His advancement continues and is well ratified when both Hemingway (which I will highlight eventually*) and Gertrude Stein (expect a special on her*) buy some of his canvases. This gains him much recognition and in turn his studio in the rue Blomet becomes a centre for artists and writers to meet and discuss their work.

His first individual exhibition was organised by Kahnweiler in 1924, at the Galerie Simon. And since Breton was among his admirers he turns fully towards the techniques of surrealism.

Upon meeting Giacometti, the great Swiss sculptor, in 1927, he creates his first sculpture, Metamorphosis. He breaks with the surrealists in 1929 and meets Matisse with whom he spends some time in Nice. In 1936 he spends some time in Spain and creates some highly recognised works such as Aube a Montserrat and Paysage aux prodiges (see companion piece video). Then he rejoins with Breton and the surrealist and mounts an exhibit at the International Surrealist Expo in London.

In 1937, highly influenced by Picasso and Dalí, he begins his second surrealist period, characterised by representations of monstrous figures. Then in 1940 he moves to Martinique and later to New York City. His work in America somewhat details the footprint of Indian mythology and the natural world. He exhibits regularly and became thus one of the most influential painters in the abstract impressionist movement taking place at the time in the US. By 1945 he returns to France. Landscape painting continues to be his principal theme in art. And in 1954 he participates in the Venice Biennial and received the Gran Prix for painting.

Masson died in Paris in 1987.

Here is the companion piece with some of his most well known paintings. I hope you enjoy it and I hope you leave me your impressions and your comments, thank you!

(Please don’t forget to like, share and to subscribe to our YouTube channel, thank you!)

*These special articles will appear in my Patreon page: http://www.patreon.com/jazzyarts


  1. spwilcen · 5 Days Ago

    Well done. A smashing read. Believe I should be keeping a notebook, so I can study for the final exam. So much good information, so much insight. I hope your weekend was pleasant, Since Sunday is the start of your week I hope you’re off to a wonderful start. Warn regards from the chilly south central US(of)A.

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · 5 Days Ago

      Thank you so much SP! I am trying to feature as many diverse artists as I can without turning the series into a course in Art History! My week begins tomorrow as Sunday is the final day, the much maligned day of rest that many people hate because the next day they must be off to work! Take good care, we’re getting cooler and cooler temps as the days pass and we’re also going through the few days out of the year when there is no sun in València! All the best to you!

  2. Brad Osborne · 5 Days Ago

    I am still struggling to find a deeper appreciation for the surrealist art form. Although the mastery of technique and palette may be obvious, I find it hard to connect with something so ambiguous in its relationship to my own world. I am sure, given a precise breakdown from the artist as to what is was that they were seeking to convey, I would find the artistry and creativity that others so readily see. For me, his earlier works such as “The Sun in the Forest” and “Rome: Portico of Octavia”, are a delight to the eye and the soul. It is remarkable the journey of his life had put him in contact with such great artists and influences. Another wonderfully detailed post on a notable artist and man. I continue to learn so much from you. Be well, my friend!

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · 5 Days Ago

      I think it must have been extraordinary times for an artist, a poet or a musician to have lived. And I too am not too fond of surrealism, it seems like an experiment in ambiguity, selfishness and imagination. If you’re not the artist you haven’t a clue! Thank you Brad, my brother, and all the best to you,

  3. Lokesh Sastya · 5 Days Ago


  4. margarethallfineart · 5 Days Ago

    I found these works quite interesting- I wasnt aware of him before. It must have been difficult to keep company with the dominant artists in that group and still have your own ideas, although the influences from them are plain to see. I particularly like the one with the birds.

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · 5 Days Ago

      Yes, I find his work very much to my liking and you’re right, it must have been quite exciting times but also difficult, trying to manoeuvre around such giants! Thank you Margaret and all the best,

  5. Easymalc · 5 Days Ago

    The jury’s out for me on this one F. I didn’t know anything much about him, but I’m really enjoying learning about all these different artist. Thanks!

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · 5 Days Ago

      Thank you Malc. That’s the point of this series. Not to just showcase artists I like and respect, but even those I am not too crazy about. Masson I like, but not fully, there are many of his works that seem to be just exercises, too much technique, not enough soul, which has always been my problem with the surrealists. In any event, I am glad you liked it and getting introduced to artists you might not have been acquainted with. Take good care and all the best,

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