Combat of Horses (Combat de chevaux)



Andre Masson, French, 1896-1987


Combat of Horses (Combat de chevaux)






Pen and ink
9 13/16 x 12 5/8 in. (24.9 x 32.1 cm)

Object Number



Masson was one of the original participants in Surrealism, a literary and artistic movement that arose in Paris in the 1920s. In poetry and in visual art the Surrealists sought to reveal the contents of the subconscious mind and strove for an immediacy of expression that did not involve the artist's will or reason. Masson's means of access to the dream imagery of the subconscious was through automatic drawing in which marks are made on paper without premeditation. This drawing of 1929 reflects the artist's, and the movement's, preoccupation with themes of eroticism, struggle, and death. The spontaneously drawn horses rear and engage in a combat that is pervaded by phallic references. Masson contributed similar drawings to illustrate an essay by the writer Georges Bataille which dealt with the primordial violence of sexuality in animals and human beings.

Credit Line

Gift in honor of Dr. Clark Poling by the Art History Department Fund, the John Howett Fund, and museum purchase


Renaissance to Contemporary: Recent Acquisitions in Works on Paper, Michael C. Carlos Museum, February 10 - May 27, 2007|
Modern and Contemporary Masters: Highlights from the Works on Paper Collection, Michael C. Carlos Museum, January 24 - May 17, 2009|
Embodied Seeing: Modernist Works on Paper, Michael C. Carlos Museum, February 4 - May 20, 2012
Michael C. Carlos Museum: Highlights of the Collections (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2011), 148.


© 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris. Image courtesy of Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2006.
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On View



Andre Masson, French, 1896-1987, “Combat of Horses (Combat de chevaux),” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed September 18, 2020,

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