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André Masson

André Masson

*  1896 Balagny
† 1987 Paris

The self-taught painter was influenced by André Derain and Cubism in the 1920s, but soon joined the Surrealists and belongs to one of the main representatives of this movement. Using automatism he developed the famous sand paintings out of glue and sand in different colorations. The free and linear method of sketching forms which characterises his graphic work stems from his interest in East-Asian calligraphy. His travels to Spain in the 1930s were documented by forceful accusations against Spanish fascism. In 1942 he fled to the USA from the occupation of France and broke with the Surrealists. In New York and Connecticut he produced paintings of terror, of fragmented figures, which can be found in his work up to the 1960s. In the post-war period he met Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir in Paris and occupied himself with post-impressionistic pictorial themes, disassociating himself from Surrealism. Besides numerous book illustrations and paintings his versatile work also covers stage paintings. In 1966 he created a ceiling painting for the Parisian Théatre Odéon.