Max Ernst

Elle garde son secret [She Keeps Her Secret]

About this artwork

Max Ernst claimed that he began to use the technique of frottage after noticing the wood grain of some floorboards. Taking a piece of paper, he made a rubbing of the wood to produce patterns which suggested mysterious forests. In 1926, this work was also reproduced in Ernst’s book ‘Histoire Naturelle’ in which a variety of textured materials were used to create rubbings and inspire pictures. Ernst has created a sense of space in the drawing by placing a similar shape to the central leaf-form in the background to the left, and by adding a cast shadow on the right. This drawing is from an album of fifteen drawings, assembled together by Roland Penrose in 1936, and sold to fund surrealist publications. The album also contained works by Magritte, Miró, Dalí and Tanguy.

Updated before 2020

see media
  • artist:
  • title:
    Elle garde son secret [She Keeps Her Secret]
  • date created:
    1925
  • materials:
    Frottage (pencil and crayon), pencil and gouache on paper
  • measurements:
    43.00 x 26.50 cm (framed: 65.20 x 47.80 x 1.50 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Art Fund 1995
  • accession number:
    GMA 3899
  • gallery:
  • subject:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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Max Ernst

Max Ernst