Femme Attaquée par les Oiseaux
Date 1943
Medium Oil on wood
Dimensions 47.8 x 37.5 x 2.5 cm
Inventory ID UID 102-365
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Other works by André Masson include a 1945 engraving of the same title, Femme attaquée par les oiseaux [Woman attacked by birds]. Done with an etching needle and burin, the theme of this work is quite explicit. By contrast, this 1943 painting shows the artist associating figurative elements, such as the face on the upper right-hand side, with other abstract elements. In these figurative lines and colours the shape or function of the birds can finally be made out: their impetuosity, the violence of the attack, and the wounds that they inflict. The painter’s gestures correspond to the movements of the action. Each colour has a symbolic function. This violence is a permanent feature of Masson's work and can be seen in Massacres, La Mort du sanglier, L’Enlèvement, Dans la tour du sommeil and Chevaux attaqués par des poissons [Massacres, Death of the Wild Boar, The Abduction, In the Tower of Sleep, Horses Attacked by Fish]. His painting influenced an entire generation of young New York artists, particularly Arshile Gorky and Jackson Pollock, who would go on to produce what became known as abstract expressionism. In fact, Pollock's painting Stenographic Figure, 1942 (MoMA, New York) can be compared to Femme attaquée par les oiseaux. AC
Galleria Sprovieri, Rome; Dr. Armando Scamperle collection, Rome, Giancarlo Molino collection, Rome; Galleria Tega, Milan; Muliart Inv. SA, Lugano; acquired in 1996.