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.
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Artist:Max Ernst (French (born Germany), Brühl 1891–1976 Paris)
Medium:Oil on canvas
Dimensions:32 in. × 25 3/4 in. (81.3 × 65.4 cm)
Credit Line:The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection, Gift of Muriel Kallis Newman, 2006
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)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "An American Choice: The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection," May 21–September 27, 1981, unnumbered cat. (p. 27).
Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Max Ernst: Dada and the Dawn of Surrealism," March 14–May 2, 1993, no. 182.
Houston. Menil Collection. "Max Ernst: Dada and the Dawn of Surrealism," May 28–August 29, 1993, no. 182.
Art Institute of Chicago. "Max Ernst: Dada and the Dawn of Surrealism," September 15–November 30, 1993, no. 182.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Painters in Paris: 1895–1950," March 8–December 31, 2000, extended to January 14, 2001, unnumbered cat. (p. 98).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Abstract Expressionism and Other Modern Works: The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 17, 2007–February 3, 2008, extended to March 2, 2008, no. 5.
Greenwich, Conn. Bruce Museum. "Paris Portraits: Artists, Friends, and Lovers," September 27, 2008–January 4, 2009, no. 14.
Werner Spies. Max Ernst, Collagen: Inventar und Widerspruch. Cologne, 1974, p. 72, fig. 193.
Werner Spies, Sigrid Metken, and Günter Metken, ed. Max Ernst Oeuvre-Katalog. Vol. 2, Werke 1906–1925. Houston, 1975, p. 410, no. 788, ill.
Grace Glueck. "Met Is Given a $12 Million Art Collection." New York Times (December 10, 1980), p. B7.
"Chicagoan Gives Art to N.Y. Museum." Chicago Sun-Times (December 11, 1980), p. 8.
Hilton Kramer. "Modernist Show Moves Met Firmly into Art of 20th Century." New York Times (May 22, 1981), p. C21.
Roberta Smith. "Spacewalk." Village Voice (June 10–16, 1981), p. 89.
William S. Lieberman inAn American Choice: The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection. Ed. William S. Lieberman. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1981, p. 26, ill. p. 27, calls it "Portrait of Gala".
Sabine Rewald in "Recent Acquisitions. A Selection: 2005–2006." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 64 (Fall 2006), p. 56, ill. (color).
Sabine Rewald inAbstract Expressionism and Other Modern Works: The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Gary Tinterow, Lisa Mintz Messinger, and Nan Rosenthal. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 24–26, no. 5, ill. (color).
Roberta Smith. "A Collector's Keen Eye for Modernists." New York Times (September 21, 2007), pp. E33, E36, ill.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York, 2012, p. 413, ill. (color).
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York, 2019, p. 413, ill. (color).
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