the collage was characterized by max ernst as follows: ‘the collage technique is the systematic exploitation of the accidentally or artificially provoked encounter of two or more foreign realities on a seemingly incongruous level – and the spark of poetry that leaps across the gap as these two realities are brought together.’ the starting point of the collages made after 1919 were illustrative material originally printed in teaching aids, catalogues, and fashion brochures, charts taken from scientific encyclopedias dealing with botany, zoology, and mechanics. in this material, max ernst reported: ‘i found figural elements united there that stood so far apart from each other that the absurdity of this accumulation caused a sudden intensification of my visionary facilities and brought about a hallucinating succession of contradictory images.’