Max Ernst Germany, 1891-1976


Max Ernst (b. 1891, Brühl, Germany; d. 1976, Paris, France) was a Dada and Surrealist painter, sculptor, and poet known for his vivid, enchanting imagery. In 1909, he pursued studies in philosophy at the University of Bonn before beginning his career as an artist, and he exhibited for the first time in 1912 at Galerie Feldman, Cologne. He traveled to Paris in 1913 and, over the next couple of years, encountered leading avant-garde figures including Guillaume Apollinaire, Jean (Hans) Arp, and Robert Delaunay. Throughout his military service during World War I, Ernst continued to paint and exhibit, and in 1918, moved back to Cologne, where he experimented with his first collages. Beginning in the early 1920s, Ernst joined the Surrealist group and began producing frottages, an inventive technique produced by rubbing a raised surface with a drawing tool such as a pencil. In 1941, Ernst fled the violence of World War II and settled in the United States with legendary patron of the arts Peggy Guggenheim, whom he married the following year. The couple later divorced after which Ernst married fellow Surrealist Dorothea Tanning. The two artists lived in Arizona before returning to France. Ernst has been the subject of international critical acclaim; he was awarded the Grand Prize for painting at the 1954 Venice Biennale and was given an important traveling retrospective held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris in 1975.