On the road #3


Dalmacja 2014

Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”

Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.”

Jack Kerouac


On a late afternoon, we got out of the car to watch a rattlesnake crossing the road outside Flagstaff, Arizona. – Max blanched visibly. He was staring at the same fantastic landscape that he had repeatedly painted in Ardeche, France, not very long ago, without knowing of its actual existence. That one look was to change the future of his life in America.

At a trading post in Grand Canyon, we found ourselves surrounded by a sea of ancient Hopi and Zuni kachina dolls. – Much to Peggy’s annoyance, Max bought just about every one of the kachinas, for $5 each. $7 for the larger Zuni dolls. – We then drove via Gallup and Albuquerque to Santa Fe. Max insisted on visiting an Indian reservation to watch the Hopi dances, as this was his main reason for driving to the American West. –  But Peggy, much to Max’s dismay, didn’t want to put up with the strains of a detour of several hundred miles. (…) – As Max sold more and more paintings, he bought more and more Indian, pre-Columbian, Alaskan, and New Guinea art. We practically had no furniture. And all of these things made the house look very cluttered. People were always coming up to him and treating him with reverence and respect like a great master. He took his adulation very well. (…)

M.E.: Then I met a young woman in America, or rather in New York, the painter Dorothea Tanning, and very soon she became my wife. (…) So we decided to move to a part of the country which I had already seen during the course of our travels — Arizona. There I found the old, familiar landscape that had continually been in my mind’s eye, and which had repeatedly appeared in my paintings, too.

Now I don’t pretend that this was a result of some cheap, prophetic gift of mine. It was sheer accident that the landscape was there, and that my pictures were there, and had emerged at a point in time before I had ever seen the landscape. You might call it the result of objective chance, which is how Breton explained it at any rate.

We had a wonderful life there. It was absolutely marvelous. Words fail me when I try and describe it. The climate was wonderful, the people we met there were so different from the sophisticated people in New York. It was simply terrific. Cowboy or artist? People like myself who had gone there to get away from it all. (…)

If you open your eyes, and look at the outside world, you can see another way. If you close your eyes and you look into your inner world, and I believe the best to do is to have one eye closed and to look inside, and this is the inner eye, and with your other eye you have it fixed on reality, what is going on in the world. If you can make a kind of a synthesis of these two important worlds, you come to a result which can be considered as a synthesis of objective and subjective life.”

Max Ernst: My Vagabond Years – My Restlessness”, 1991
reż. P. Schamoni


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