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La Corde [The Rope] 1924

Not on display

In 1924 Masson's work was still heavily dependent on cubist fragmentation and shading. However, in this painting one can see the artist beginning to introduce elements of surrealism, automatism and mystery. The upright carafe seems to be turning into a bird with an eye and a beak; the headless nude could be read as a small figurine or as a normal figure standing in the background. The rope named in the title leads back into a passage, perhaps the entrance to the Labyrinth.

Glossary Open


A painting or drawing process that aims to suppress rational thought, allowing the subconscious to take control. This spontaneous approach is associated with Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism.


A style of painting originated by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso in the first two decades of the 20th century. Instead of painting a figure or object from a fixed position they represented it from multiple viewpoints.


A literary and artistic movement founded by the poet André Breton in 1924. Many of the associated artists, such as Max Ernst and Jean Arp, had previously been involved with Dadaism. The movement sought to challenge conventions through the exploration of the subconscious mind, invoking the power of dreams and elements of chance. Cultural hierarchies were challenged by the combination of diverse elements in collages and sculptural assemblages. The movement is also notable for the collaborations between artists and writers evident in the Surrealists' many publications.

Automatism, Cubism , Surrealism


  • Acc. No. GMA 3889
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 45.10 x 38.20 cm (framed: 64.10 x 57.00 x 4.40 cm)
  • Credit Purchased with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Art Fund 1995