This evocative portrait reveals the deeply intertwined personal and artistic lives of members of the Surrealist circle and depicts the movement’s fascination with dreamlike states. Gala Éluard was muse and lover to three members of the Surrealist movement: her two husbands, poet Paul Éluard and artist Salvador Dalí, and Ernst, who painted this work based on Man Ray’s photograph of Éluard’s eyes. With curious forms rising from her unfurling forehead, Éluard becomes an imagined embodiment of Surrealism’s wide-eyed interest in art’s power to explore the mysterious territories of the unconscious mind.
Inscription: Signed (upper right): Max Ernst
Paul Éluard, Paris; André Breton, Paris; [Galerie Pierre, Paris; sold to Feigen]; [Richard L. Feigen Gallery, Chicago, until 1959; sold on August 5, 1959 to Newman]; Muriel Kallis Newman, Chicago (1959–2006; her gift to MMA)
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