The Entire City 1934 is an oil painting on paper mounted on canvas by the German surrealist artist Max Ernst. The painting depicts a cityscape comprised of a mass of geometric forms set against a deep blue sky. The dark air max bw pas cher shapes that comprise the buildings of the city are marked by striations and floral patterns highlighted in orange and pink tones. A small white ring in the upper left hand corner of the composition seems to represent the moon. The lack of detail or definition, along with the layered, textured structures, suggest that this might be a city in ruins.
The Entire City is part of a series of around twelve paintings on the same theme that Ernst made between 1933 and 1937. The two final works in the series, made air max bw pas cher in 1935 7 and also titled The Entire City, are larger in scale than the earlier versions, with one measuring 970 x 1600 mm (Peggy Guggenheim Foundation, Venice) and the other 970 x 1460 mm (private collection). Both these versions have a larger expanse of sky that covers roughly half of the canvas, in contrast to the earlier paintings where the sky forms around one quarter of the overall composition. Ernst air max safari recollected in 1953 that he painted the 1934 version of The Entire City owned by Tate in the studio of the British surrealist painter Roland Penrose at the Chateau de Pouys in the south of France, where he was being hosted at that time as an exile from his native Germany.
In order to create the textured effect seen in The Entire City Ernst used a technique called grattage, which involved running an object or piece of material, such as a plank of wood or the backbone of a fish, over the painted surface. Using this process he could incorporate unexpected marks and shapes and imbue the work with an element of chance. Grattage, a term coined by Ernst that means ‘scraping’ in French, was developed by the artist from a similar technique called frottage that involves rubbing a pencil or crayon over a piece of paper that is placed against a textured surface. As early as 1921 he made a group portrait painting titled All Friends Together that depicted many of the surrealists, including André Breton, Paul Eluard and Louis Aragon, demonstrating the artist’s affinity with this like minded group of peers. In terms of his painting technique, at this time he abandoned almost all traditional modes of painting by brush in a quest to go ‘beyond painting’ and embrace more automatic methods including experimental techniques like frottage and grattage (Schneede 1972, p.124).
In the printed catalogue The Tate Gallery’s Wartime Acquisitions the 1934 painting is listed under a different title as The Citadel, however in the Catalogue of the Tate Gallery’s Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists curator Ronald Alley mentions that this was not the original title and that according to a statement by the artist ‘it should be called « La ville entire » (not « Study for ‘La ville entire' »)’. (Alley 1981, p.210.) However, the art historian Uwe Schneede has remarked that the cities in these paintings by Ernst ‘are not entire at all, but ruined citadels’, resembling the ‘ruins of some urban utopia by a nineteenth century architect the remains, after some disaster’ (Schneede 1972, p.147). Schneede, The Essential Max Ernst, trans.
The central rotund shape in this painting derives from a photograph of air max nike a Sudanese corn bin, which Ernst has transformed into a sinister mechanical monster. Ernst often re used found images, and either added or removed elements in order to create new realities, all the more disturbing for being drawn from the known world. The work’s title comes from a childish German rhyme that begins: ‘The elephant from Celebes has sticky, yellow bottom grease’. The painting’s inexplicable combinations, such as the headless female figure and the elephant like creature, suggest images from a dream and the Freudian technique of free association.
With Galerie Van Leer, Paris; with Redfern Gallery, London, air max pas cher 1937Paintings, Watercolours and Drawings, Redfern Gallery, London, June 1938 (31) as ‘The Citadel’; French and English Paintings, Watercolours and Drawings, Redfern Gallery, London, July 1938 (24); Summer Exhibition, Redfern Gallery, London, July September 1939 (146); French and English Paintings, Redfern Gallery, London, November 1939 (61); The Tate Gallery’s Wartime Acquisitions, National Gallery, London, April May 1942 (28); A Selection from the Tate Gallery’s Wartime Acquisitions, CEMA touring exhibition, September 1942 September 1943 (13)Werner Spies, Sigrid and Günter Metken, Max Ernst: Werke 1929 1938
(Houston Cologne 1979), No.2218, p.340 repr. (dated 1935)John Rothenstein, Modern Foreign Pictures in the Tate Gallery (London 1947), pl.100; Uwe M. Schneede, The Essential Max Ernst
(London 1972), pl.291
This is one of the most developed of a series of about a dozen paintings on this theme which Ernst seems to have begun in 1935 and which culminated in two large pictures of 1936 7 called ‘La Ville entière’, one 97 x 160cm in the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation in Venice and the other 97 x 146cm in a Paris private collection, both of which have a larger expanse of sky, indications of an ancient chaussure nike air max ruined city in the distance and vegetation in the foreground. Ernst said in 1953 that this particular work was painted in 1934 while he was staying with Sir Roland Penrose at the Chateau de Pouys (Gers) in the South of France, and was executed in his host’s studio, but it would seem that he was mistaken about the year.
It has also been known as ‘The Citadel’, though this is not the original title. The artist said that nike air max 90 pas cher it should be called ‘La Ville entière’ (not ‘Study for « La Ville entière’