André Masson was born in Balagny-sur-Thérain, Oise, France. He started to study under the Belgium painter Constant Montald at Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts, Brussels when he was eleven. Masson was seriously injured during World War I when he fought for France. The early works of Masson’s shows some interest in cubism, later, he was devoted into surrealism, especially in the field of automatism. Masson believed that drawing automatically could free his consciousness from rational control, therefore achieved a state that is closer to his subconscious. Antonin Artaud, Jean Dubuffet, Joan Miró, Georges Bataille are some of the artists who discussed states of consciousness with him when he was working in Paris. Masson was forced to move to the United States during World War II, in order to escape from the Nazi power. He and his works further influenced American abstract expressionists, for example, Jackson Pollock.
Some selected exhibitions which was held during Masson’s lifetime includes: the retrospective exhibition of Masson and Alberto Giacometti at Kunstmuseum Basel in 1950; the Masson Retrospective at Paris Musee National d'Art Moderne in 1965; the 80 year old retrospective at New York Museum of Modern Art in 1976; and the grand retrospective at Museé des Beaux – Arts de Nîme in 1985. Some of the famous collections includes the Peggy Guggenheim, New York Museum of Modern Art, Musee National d'Art Moderne, etc.