As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday 16 February 2017

Rare group of Max Ernst bird paintings to go on show in London for first time in 30 years

Sotheby’s is organising the non-selling show to coincide with its Surrealist sale
by Anny Shaw  |  8 February 2017

A group of 11 rare and darkly fantastical paintings incorporating birds by Max Ernst are to go on show at Sotheby’s in London–although none are for sale. The works have all been loaned by unnamed private collectors and have not been shown in London for almost 30 years.

The works, created between 1921 and 1928, mark a turning point in Ernst’s career. Having founded Dada in Cologne in 1919 (a year after returning traumatised from serving in the German army in the First World War), Ernst exhibited for the first time in Paris in 1921, at the Galerie au Sans Pareil.

In 1922 the artist moved to the French capital, where he became a central figure in the Surrealist movement. “Dada was a nihilist kind of anti-art,” says Samuel Valette, Sotheby’s senior specialist in Impressionist and Modern art who is organising the show. “Surrealism was a way to get back to art.”

The group of paintings testify to Ernst’s obsession with birds–a motif he developed during this period that was to recur throughout his career. Valette says Ernst’s fascination with birds can be traced back to a “confusing episode” in his childhood, when the death of his parrot corresponded with the birth of his sister. “From this very young age he had this bizarre relationship with birds,” Valette says. The artist later developed the avian alter-ego Loplop. 

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