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 Max Ernst   (1891-1976)

  Histoire Naturelle
 Les eclairs au-dessous de quatorze ans (Teenage Lightning)
  • collotype after frottage, 1926
  • plate number XXIV from the series of XXXIV plates
  • with the plate number printed lower center margin recto
  • this example from the portfolio numbered 224
  • total edition size of 306:
    6 portfolios hors commerce numbered A-F
    20 portfolios numbered 1-20 on Japon
    30 portfolios numbered 21-50 on Arches
    250 portfolios numbered 51-300 on wove paper
  • plate size 16⅞" x 10¼" x (42.8 x 25.8 cm.)
  • paper size 19⅝" x 12¾" (49.8 x 32.3 cm.)
  • published in 1926 by Galerie Jeanne Bucher, Paris
One plate from the original 1926 first printing of Ernst's celebrated series of thirty four images, the first published surrealist frottages.
This artwork is accompanied by photocopies of the text cover sheet and hand signed colophon from its original portfolio.

Ernst created these images by placing paper atop various materials - wood floorboards, lengths of twine, leaves, wire mesh, crumpled paper, crusts of bread-and rubbing the surface with a pencil or crayon. Inspired by the resulting textures, he added details to transform them into fantastical landscapes, objects, and creatures. Ernst called his process frottage (French for "rubbing") and claimed it as a form of Surrealist automatism, whereby an artist attempts to let the unconscious guide his hand in the creation of an image. (source:
Max Ernst - Histoire Naturelle - Les eclairs au-dessous de quatorze ans (Teenage Lightning) - 1926 collotype after frottage enlarge in new window

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