A Little Girl Dreams Of Taking The Veil

Before the combination of Photoshop and, this vast repository of source-materials, the internet began spawning what now certainly amount to billions of wry photo-mashups, there was a predecessor which required of its practitioners expert hand-skills and vision and resourcefulness. I’m talking, of course, about collage, and in the days before pixels, indeed before periodicals positively overflowed with photographic imagery, a fellow, without formal training, by the name of Max Ernst took the form to places previously unimagined.

02.24. filed under: art. books. history. people.

I do love these books, having discovered them in college.  Unfortunately, only Une Semaine De Bonté appears to be available from Dover right now.  I remember A Week of Kindness having more impact, but perhaps that was because I only saw it intermittently when visiting the library.

The impact of the collage was all that much greater by having grown up reading the colored fairy books of Andrew Lang, which have somewhat similar styles of art.  It made the collage like seeing new words in a familiar language.

posted on 02.24 at 07:01 PMJustin Sherrill

How did I manage to miss this the last time? Wonderful stuff: thanks for (re)posting these.

posted on 02.25 at 04:40 AM.

Your erudition never ceases to impress. Great stuff.

posted on 02.25 at 12:01 PM.

really enjoyed what i saw on your site last night, and then fell asleep, had to come back today to leave a comment…  very classy, very eclectic, very inspiring, thank you very much, i’ll be coming back often     M. from France

posted on 02.27 at 06:00 AMM. from France

Re the inherent gravitas of etchings and wood engravings: at the time Ernst created his collages, these images would likely have had a different effect. Old, quaint, yes, but nothing more. Engraving was the stuff of yellowing illustrated magazines and general store catalogs. Of course once Ernst nailed that look, it became a style to be applied ad nauseam by lesser illustrators. Fifties kitsch seems to have a similar grip on collagists and graphic designers everywhere.

By the way, Tanning, the book’s American translator, was a fine surrealist painter in her own right. She was also Ernst’s wife at the time.

posted on 02.27 at 10:55 AM.

Speaking of followers, Una biografía is a graphic novel by the Spanish humorist Chumy Chúmez and it is not bad at all. It follows Ernst in both technique and (Gothic) mood. He tends to use nicer, more highbrow engravings, which makes the plates more decorative, I guess. I bet you can find a used copy floating around.

posted on 02.27 at 12:10 PM.

Thank you

posted on 03.01 at 04:49 AMachilles3

I echo Justin a bit—I stumbled across the Dover editions when I was in high school, and they are probably some of the reason I’m not right in the haid.


Thanks you for a wild, “deja vu all over again” kinda moment. I loved these then, and love ‘em now.

posted on 03.01 at 09:36 AMLori Witzel

Good stuff!

posted on 05.20 at 11:53 AMCasCad

Photoshop is a amazing tool. Good and nice post.

posted on 07.24 at 08:02 AMJoseph

Very fascinating.  Thanks for sharing with the rest of us :-)

posted on 08.24 at 02:56 PMChicago Institute

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