André Masson, born on January 4th 1986, is a major ﬁgure of the surrealist movement and considered one of the fathers of automatism, and a strong inﬂuencer of the abstract expressionist movement which was born in New York during the 1940's. Masson's career as a surrealist will truly take shape in 1922, after his move to the Atelier Blomet, which will become to the surrealists what the Bateau Lavoir was to the cubists. His close contact to Joan Miro will take Masson's artistic production to an irrational level, one that he had not reached before. A couple years later, Masson will become one of the most important artists to sign with the Galerie Simon, gallery of the famous dealer Henri Kanhweiler. Masson's involvement with his dealer, and the artists of the gallery, notably Juan Gris, will keep cubism essential to Masson's early surrealist works. With the likes of Joan Miro and Max Ernst, Masson will always push the boundaries of experimentation, integrating various techniques, material and support into his production. In 1927, Masson will begin experimenting with sculpture, using terracotta, argyle and plaster.
Famous for his "automatic drawings" and his "sand paintings", he is marked - on an aesthetic level - by "the spirit of metamorphosis" and "the mythical invention" and - on an ethical level - by a Visceral anticonformism, including within the surrealist group from which he eventually moves away Masson remains a true surrealist: never throughout his artistic production does he abandon the surrealist aesthetics.
Having narrowly escaped death during the First World War, and being sensitive to the writings of Sade and his friend Georges Bataille, his work can be interpreted as an uncompromising questioning of human barbarity and perverse behavior. This preoccupation with all aesthetic considerations taking a primary role in his artistic language, criticism explains the role he plays in modern art by the fact that "he never cared to please."
His inﬂuence is mainly notable in New York during the Second World War, where he stays ﬂeeing Nazi Germany. His paintings break with the classic pattern of ﬁgures standing out against a background (to best symbolise the state of mental confusion that - according to him - governs his century), they serve as references to the painters Jackson Pollock and Arshile Gorky, founders of abstract expressionism.