The Hat Makes the Man (1920) by Max Ernst

The Hat Makes the Man - Max Ernst - 1920

Artwork Information

TitleThe Hat Makes the Man
ArtistMax Ernst
Mediumcollage,gouache,pencil,Ink on Paper
Dimensions35.2 x 45.1 cm
Art MovementSurrealism
Current LocationMuseum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, NY, US
Location Created Cologne / Cöln / Köln, Germany

About The Hat Makes the Man

“The Hat Makes the Man” is a significant work of art by Max Ernst, created in 1920. The artwork is a collage utilizing gouache, pencil, and ink on paper and is identified with the Surrealist movement. Its dimensions are 35.2 cm by 45.1 cm. The piece holds symbolic significance and is currently housed at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) located in New York City, NY, US. Its creation took place in Cologne, Germany, reflecting the innovative and exploratory spirit of Surrealism during that era.

The artwork presents an abstract composition of hat-like figures, with each resembling different forms of hats stacked or juxtaposed in a variety of arrangements. This composition seems to play with the concepts of identity and how attire, particularly hats, can signify power, profession, or social status. The use of geometric shapes and the layering of materials lend the piece a three-dimensional effect despite being on a two-dimensional surface. The artwork is characteristic of Ernst’s penchant for evocative juxtaposition and his exploration of the subconscious mind through visual forms. It is imbued with a dreamlike quality that challenges the viewer’s perceptions and conceptions of reality, a hallmark of the Surrealist movement.

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