André-Aimé-René Masson was a French painter, sculptor, illustrator, designer, and author. Born north of Paris in 1896, he was raised in Belgium and classically trained in the fine arts throughout childhood in both Brussels and Paris.
While generally known for his contributions to the Surrealist movement, his work evades a singular classification in twentieth century art. In his early years, he experimented with Cubism and Surrealism associating with fellow Surrealists Joan Miró and Max Ernst. His automatic drawing work, which involved expressing emerging images from the unconscious, was published in the Surrealist journal La révolution surrealiste in 1925.
Masson dissociated with the movement during the early 1930s following differences with core theories, but reconciled near the end of the decade. During this time he explored deeper themes of violence influenced by trauma from time served in WWI where he suffered a severe wound. He also drew inspiration from the natural landscape prompting elements of biomorphic abstraction in his work and depicted themes of human nature and eroticism which continued throughout his career.