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Untitled 1921

Not on display

In many of the collages that Ernst made at the height of the Dada period, he cannibalised popular, and often outdated, manuals and magazines which were illustrated with engravings of machines, instruments, and appliances. Sometimes his intervention was limited, as here, to one or two additions to the main image, but the absence of any explanatory text released the inherent strangeness and absurdity of the original source. The central importance of bizarre juxtapositions to his collages, the way inanimate objects tend to be endowed with an obvious human presence, and the exploitation of illusions to strengthen the atmosphere of irrationality, are all devices which reflect the direct influence upon Ernst of the metaphysical paintings of Giorgio de Chirico and Carlo Carrà.

Glossary Open


An image constructed from found materials, such as photographs, paper or fabric, glued to a surface, sometimes with additional painted or drawn elements. It is an art form particularly associated with Dada and Surrealism.


A radical artistic and literary movement that was a reaction against the cultural climate that supported the First World War. The Dadaists took an anti-establishment attitude, questioning art's status and favouring performance and collage over traditional art techniques. Many Dadaists went on to become involved with Surrealism.


The printmaking technique in which an image is inscribed on a copper plate with a tool that cuts a groove in the surface. This groove holds the ink that creates the print when it is applied to paper. Also refers to the method of making an incision on a material such as glass.

Metaphysical Painting

Or Pittura Metafisica. An Italian style of painting of the early 20th century, exemplified by Carlo Carrà and Giorgio de Chirico, who produced eerie townscapes populated by unexpected objects. This combination of strange elements was particularly influential on the Surrealist movement.

Collage, Dada, Engraving, Metaphysical Painting


  • Acc. No. GMA 3971
  • Medium Collage mounted on paper
  • Size 7.20 x 4.40 cm (mount 11.80 x 8.80 cm)
  • Credit Bequeathed by Gabrielle Keiller 1995