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Esquisse Pour Un Portrait De Max Ernst

Hans Bellmer

European Art

The soul-crushing experience of imprisonment conjured by Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s etchings is also evoked in this haunting portrait that the Surrealist photographer Hans Bellmer drew of his friend and fellow artist Max Ernst. At the time they were both prisoners at a World War II internment camp for “undesirable foreigners” housed in a brick and tile factory in the South of France. Ernst’s face is rendered in a mosaic of small bricks, alluding to the artists’ incarceration, the brick prison building, and its former product.
MEDIUM Graphite and opaque watercolor on wove paper
DATES 1939
DIMENSIONS 4 3/8 x 5 11/16 in. (11.1 x 14.5 cm)  (show scale)
SIGNATURE Signed, "H.B." in pencil, lower right
INSCRIPTIONS "193 Hans Bellmer" (signature) in pencil, upper left; verso; "Square up/ S.S. (192)/H.T." upper right in pencil; "Portrait of M.E. by H. Bellmer" in pencil, lower center. Pencil sketch on verso.
COLLECTIONS European Art
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 87.53
CREDIT LINE Purchase gift of the Julian Beck Memorial Fund in memory of Julian Beck
RIGHTS STATEMENT © artist or artist's estate
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CAPTION Hans Bellmer (German, 1902-1975). Esquisse Pour Un Portrait De Max Ernst, 1939. Graphite and opaque watercolor on wove paper, 4 3/8 x 5 11/16 in. (11.1 x 14.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchase gift of the Julian Beck Memorial Fund in memory of Julian Beck, 87.53. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.87.53.jpg)
IMAGE overall, CUR.87.53.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2011
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Hans Bellmer (German, 1902-1975). <em>Esquisse Pour Un Portrait De Max Ernst</em>, 1939. Graphite and opaque watercolor on wove paper, 4 3/8 x 5 11/16 in. (11.1 x 14.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchase gift of the Julian Beck Memorial Fund in memory of Julian Beck, 87.53. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.87.53.jpg)