French artist Masson studied art in Paris from 1912 until the First World War, when he joined the army. After being seriously wounded, Masson was discharged from military service and lived in the south of France. In 1922 he returned to Paris where his work was influenced by Cubism. Masson joined the surrealist group in 1924 and remained a member of the group until 1929. Masson's contact with the Surrealists encouraged him to experiment with automatism and chance, particularly in his graphic work. His themes at this time were metamorphosis, violence and eroticism.