Au rendez-vous des amis (A Friends’ Reunion), 1922
In 1922 Max Ernst left Cologne and moved to Paris. There he lived with Paul Éluard and his wife, Gala, whose apartment was a meeting place for artists and literati. Here they presented ideas and poems, organized exhibitions, debated intensely, and laid the foundations for a new art movement: Surrealism. In the same year, Ernst painted A Friends’ Reunion, in which individuals from various eras gather together on a craggy massif. Ernst himself, wearing a green suit, sits on Dostoyevsky’s lap. Standing further back is the Renaissance artist Raphael, whose balanced compositions served as a model for the group. From the right the group’s spokesperson, Andre Breton, wearing a red cape, rushes by, announcing the new ideas. In the front row the individuals communicate through sign language. Behind them appear a band of adherents, who follow the new art movement. The gathering takes place during a solar eclipse, a symbol of impending change, which the Surrealists desired in art, politics, and social life.