The Postman Cheval (1932) by Max Ernst

The Postman Cheval - Max Ernst - 1932

Artwork Information

TitleThe Postman Cheval
ArtistMax Ernst
MediumPaper and fabric collage with pencil, ink, andgouache on paper on Canvas
Dimensions17 7/8 x 14 7/8 in.
Current LocationPeggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice

About The Postman Cheval

The Postman Cheval is a symbolic collage on paper created by Max Ernst during his First French period in the Dada movement. The artwork references Ferdinand Cheval, a French postman who spent thirty-three years building a palace known as Palais Ideal with stones and natural objects he collected during his postal rounds. Ernst’s collage highlights the architectural elements of the palace and its surreal atmosphere by superimposing different images onto each other.

The artwork portrays Cheval’s fascination with combining ordinary objects in extraordinary ways, as seen in the geometric shapes featured on the collage. Many artists and writers, including Pablo Picasso, have referenced Cheval’s work for inspiration. They were drawn to his unusual vision that challenged traditional notions of beauty and form.

Today, The Postman Cheval is considered an important example of surrealist art from this time period. It reflects Ernst’s interest in metaphysical ideas such as free association and dream imagery that inspired many artists at this time. The piece can be found at Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, where it continues to inspire audiences and spark conversations about art outside of mainstream conventions.

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