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André Masson (1896-1987)

Andre Masson

For a short 10 months i lives in Paris. 16th Arrondissement, Rue La Fontaine, just a 20 minute walk from the Avenue Wilson where the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris was located . It witnessed the opening of the Centre Pompidou, but in the short period before the opening. The Modern Art Museum at the Avenue Wilson was the only modern art museum in Paris worth visitinbg. At that time they had Brancusi studio on show and at one of the months in 1977 an Andre Masson exhibition and yes….. i now have the catalogue of this exhibition available at

He was born in Belgium. In 1908, he graduated from the painting courses at the Brussels embroidery school and entered the local Academy of arts. In 1912, he continued his studies at the Paris School of fine arts. At the beginning of WWI, he volunteered for the front and was seriously wounded. He lived mainly in Paris, initially earning as a ceramist and newspaper proofreader. Having signed a contract with the famous art dealer D.-H. Kahnweiler, he managed to devote himself entirely to art from mid-1920s.

He had a strong color-symbolist manner in his early works,. However, his works went through a period of cubism later. In 1924, he found himself in the mainstream of surrealism, having met A.Breton after Masson’s first personal exhibition. He developed cubist forms in a surreal manner, then, in 1926, he worked in the technique of “automatic painting”, creating pictorial and graphic compositions (graphics always played a full-fledged parallel role in his works), where individual figures and symbols are increasingly were subjected to the spontaneous play of rhythms, colors and strokes.

In 1940, he moved to the United States, where his art directly boosted the formation of abstract expressionism, Masson himself was deeply impressed by the works of classical Chinese painting in the American collections. Returning to France (1945), he created impressionistic local landscapes.

His work of 1953-1959 attributed to the” Asian period ” by their dominant echoes with the far Eastern ink painting.

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