Wifredo Lam met the German Surrealist Max Ernst during his stay in the French port town of Marseilles between 1940 and 1941, at the onset of the Second World War. The friendship between them, characterized by camaraderie and mutual admiration, endured beyond their wartime exodus. They shared a common interest in feminine archetypes, seen in Lam’s horse-headed female avatars, known as "femmes-cheval", and in the similarly hybrid figures that Ernst created to illustrate Leonora Carrington’s collection of stories, "The House of Fear" (1938). In "Bonjour Max Ernst", Lam pays homage to Ernst with an incarnation of his signature femme-cheval, her face flattened into a triangle with horned appendages and her mane-tail graced by the figural presence of Afro-Cuban deities . This lithograph is one of four in a portfolio of the same name edited by the printer Georges Visat, a close friend of Ernst. Robert Matta, César Balaccini, and Hans Bellmer contributed the other prints, which were published in the year of Ernst’s death.
This text was created in collaboration with the University of Maryland Department of Art History & Archaeology and written by Patricia Ortega-Miranda.