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Exquisite Corpse

A work made of graphite and colored crayons on ivory wove paper.
© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

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  • A work made of graphite and colored crayons on ivory wove paper.


March 18, 1927


André Masson (French, 1896-1987)
Max Ernst (American and French, born Germany, 1891-1976)
Max Morise (French, 1900-1973)

About this artwork

The so-called cadavre exquis or exquisite corpse, a Surrealist visual game, was created in winter 1925–26, when members of the group gathered in the evenings. If conversation lagged, they invented games to spark the unconscious. The exquisite corpse grew out of one such invention, which reimagined the children’s game of “head, body, legs,” in which each participant adds to a drawing without seeing the preceding contributions, which are hidden by folding the paper. The results are strange, sometimes violent, combinations of images. The Surrealists produced many such drawings (the Art Institute has several; for example, 2018.333, 2018.334, and 2018.335), and these collaborative experiments were profoundly influential. The Chicago-based Hairy Who artists also played the game in the late 1960s, but with more playful results (for example, 2018.684, 2018.685, 2018.686, 2018.687, 2018.688, and 2018.689).


On View, Gallery 397


Prints and Drawings


André Masson


Exquisite Corpse


France (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Graphite and colored crayons on ivory wove paper


Inscribed, verso, upper right, in red graphite: "Appt. André Breton"; inscribed and dated, verso, upper right, in graphite, in Breton's hand: "Max Morise / Max Ernst / André Masson / (18 mars 1927)"; verso, center right in black ink, in Breton's hand: ""CADAVRE EXQUIS" (18 mars 1927) / De Haut en bas: Max Morise, Max Ernst, André Masson"; signed verso, center right in black ink: “André Breton”; inscribed verso, lower left, in graphite: “600”


20 × 15.5 cm (7 7/8 × 6 1/8 in.)

Credit Line

Lindy and Edwin Bergman Collection

Reference Number



© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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