Mère Ubu (Essai) signed 'max ernst' (lower right) and inscribed 'mère ubu (essai)' (lower left) frottage on paper 36 x 25.2cm (14 3/16 x 9 15/16in). Executed 1970-1971
PROVENANCE Alexandre Iolas, Paris. Galerie Bel'Art, Stockholm, no. 23. Anon. sale, Sotheby's, London, 31 March 1982, lot 262. Purchased from the above by the present owner.
This work is registered under the internal working number 4690 and will be included in the eighth volume of the catalogue raisonné, Max Ernst, Werke 1970-1975, currently being prepared by Werner Spies, Sigrid and Günter Metken and Jürgen Pech.
The present work was made in preparation for plate 4 from Ernst's portfolio of nine lithographs in colours Alfred Jarry: Décervelages, published by Alexandre Iolas in Paris in 1971 (Spies/Leppien 197 IV).
The figure of Mère Ubu appears alongside the infantile anti-hero Ubu in Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi, the legendary burlesque play, premiered in 1896, which was a significant precursor to the Theatre of the Absurd and Surrealism.