Collection: André Masson   1896 - 1987 

André-Aimé-René Masson was born in Balagny-sur-Thérain, Oise, but was brought up in Belgium. He began his study of art at the age of eleven in Brussels, at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts under the guidance of Constant Montald, and later he studied in Paris. He fought for France during World War I and was seriously injured.

His early works display an interest in cubism. He later became associated with surrealism, and he was one of the most enthusiastic employers of automatic drawing, making a number of automatic works in pen and ink. Masson would often force himself to work under strict conditions, for example, after long periods of time without food or sleep, or under the influence of drugs. He believed forcing himself into a reduced state of consciousness would help his art be free from rational control, and hence get closer to the workings of his subconscious mind.