Oil on canvas
Unframed: 65 x 46 cm (25 9/16 x 18 1/8 in.)
Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 2016.55
Although this type of painting was known as "automatic," Masson acknowledged that the process was both subconscious and conscious.
Surrealists such as André Masson believed that reality could be grasped only by unlocking the secrets of the subconscious mind. His pioneering technique known as automatic painting emphasized working spontaneously, thereby allowing subconscious thoughts to emerge during the creative process. Masson worked rapidly when painting Landscape with Snake, applying gestural brushstrokes over a tan background and gouging through wet paint with a pencil. While forms occasionally coalesce to suggest a snake, a bird, or water flowing through a forest, the true subject is the dynamic process of painting.
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