ANDRÉ MASSON: PIONEER OF THE AUTOMATIC ART

Image Courtesy: http://www.guastalla.com/en/artists/andre-aime-rene-masson

Channeling the spirit through advancing the pen over the paper, the lace-like web of lines drawn by the French artist André-Aimé-René Masson were the embryonic images of automatic art, later developed to demonstrate an unusual coherence and textural unity under controlled consciousness.

Regarded as a bridge between Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism, Masson was born on January 4, 1896, in Balagny-sur-Thérain, Oise, France. Later he moved with his family to Brussels and studied at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts, under the guidance of Constant Montald and later studied in Paris at Ecolé des Beaux-Arts (1912-1914). In the World War l he served in the French army and was gravely wounded. From 1919-1922, Mawson lived in south of France, then returned to Paris where he met Gris, Derain, and later Miró and Breton. In 1923, he executed his first solo exhibition at the Galerie Simon, Paris.

From 1924 to 1929, Mawson actively participated in Surrealist movement, although he borrowed his motifs and ideas from Cubism and other trends within the Ecolé de Paris. After 1929 Masson left the surrealist movement and made further works exploring chance effects, including sand paintings as well as paintings of metamorphoses of animal and human forms, themes of germination, combats and massacres, with emphasis on violence and eroticism.

During the second World War, Masson took refuge in the USA, where he lived at New Preston, Connecticut and made works inspired by the elemental forces of nature. His work gradually attracted the attention of the art world in New York and Jackson Pollock is rumored to have been inspired by Mason’s Pasiphae (1944).

In 1945, Masson returned to France and settled at Aix-en-Provence, painting landscapes themes such as mountains and waterfalls for several years, followed by some almost completely abstract pictures. Masson also designed costumes for theatre, worked on book illustrations, made a number of sculptures and wrote various books including ‘Mythologie d'Andre Masson' (1971).

Seen alongside Picasso as a major contributor to surrealism, Masson received major retrospectives in Basel (1950) and New York (1976). His paintings hang in some of the best art museums around the world. The pioneer of automatism Andre Masson was died on October 28, 1987 in Paris, France.

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