Max Ernst’s “Natural History”

Found a video of Max Ernst in his studio, doing frottage (placing paper over an object and rubbing against the surface of the object with crayon or pencil to receive its patterns) and talking about it. Frottage — what an interesting and provocative word! I’ve always been a little put off by his eagle-eyed visage, in the many photos that have been taken of him. And I always imagined him to be a rather dictatorial sort. But I find him surprisingly soft spoken here, and I realize that his surreal drawings and paintings are based on a deep reverence for nature; he used its natural forms to inspire his imagination.

Is there a poetry form of frottage, I wonder?


Max Ernst: “A New Form of Natural History”

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