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This richly documented book examines the attempts of the French Surrealist artist Andre Masson (1896--1987) to define "self" in his art in the period between the early 1920s and 1940, the most fruitful period of classic Surrealism, culminating in the emergence of existentialism. Through a close reading of Masson's paintings, drawings, and writings, Clark Poling explores the ways in which the artist figured the self--as fragmented, dissolved, merged with other selves and with the natural environment, and, ultimately, reconstituted and consolidated. Masson's work, Poling argues, reveals his involvement with modern conceptions of the self that he absorbed from Nietzsche and the Surrealist writers, as well as from other sources in philosophy, psychology, psychoanalysis and ethnography. He traces Masson's articulation of these ideas in paintings and graphic works, using his correspondence from the Surrealist period and his many subsequent writings as supporting evidence.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780300135626
ISBN-10: 0300135629
Format: Hardback
(256mm x 192mm x 20mm)
Pages: 192
Imprint: Yale University Press
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publish Date: 27-May-2008
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Clark V. Poling

Clark Poling is professor emeritus of art history, Emory University.