Grande Tête

about 1960
Designed by Max Ernst (German (active in France and the United States), 1891–1976), Executed by François Hugo (French, 1899–1981)

Object Place: Aix-en-Provence, France


Overall: 10.2 x 9.5 x 2.5 cm (4 x 3 3/4 x 1 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

23 kt gold

Not On View


Americas, Contemporary Art, Europe, Jewelry



Circular domed 23kt. yellow gold surrealist pendant with eyes and bird-like beak. Carved by Max Ernst in plaster, then cast by Francois Hugo in gold. Together with wood and velvet display stand.

Various twentieth-century painters and sculptors have turned their hands to designing and making jewelry, and their efforts have lent prestige to the concept of “art to wear.” Two workshops, GEM MONTEBELLO, in Italy, and François Hugo, in France, collaborated with artists such as Man Ray, Pablo Picasso, and Max Ernst to produce special, limited-edition jewelry. Designed by the important surrealist artist Max Ernst, Grand Tête represents the friendship and collaboration between Ernst and metalsmith François Hugo. Beginning in 1959, Ernst brought various models in wax and plaster to Hugo’s atelier to be translated into gold. The work presents the wearer with an abstract, almost nightmarish face, echoing Ernst’s explorations of the subconscious in his sculpture and drawings.


Signed " Max Ernst "in script , numbered 2/8; with hallmark of Francois Hugo; inventory number, 2030/1498


Skinner Auctioneers, Sale 1451, Lot 390; Daphne Farago, June 22, 1992 Daphne Farago; to MFA, 2006, gift of Daphne Farago.

Credit Line

The Daphne Farago Collection


© 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.