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Max Ernst

Max Ernst
Max Ernst, 1920, Punching Ball ou l'Immortalité de Buonarroti, photomontage, gouache, et encre sur photographie.jpg
Max Ernst, 1920, Punching Ball ou l'Immortalité de Buonarroti, photomontage, gouache, ink on photograph (self-portrait)
Born (1891-04-02)2 April 1891
Brühl, German Empire
Died 1 April 1976(1976-04-01) (aged 84)
Paris, France
Nationality German
Known for painting, sculpture, poetry
Movement Dada, Surrealism
Spouse(s) Luise Straus (1918–27)
Marie-Berthe Aurenche (1927–42)
Peggy Guggenheim (1942–46)
Dorothea Tanning (1946–76)

Max Ernst (2 April 1891 – 1 April 1976) was a German painter, sculptor, graphic artist, and poet. A prolific artist, Ernst was a primary pioneer of the Dada movement and Surrealism.

Max Ernst was born in Brühl, near Cologne, the third of nine children of a middle-class Catholic family. His father Philipp was a teacher of the deaf and an amateur painter, a devout Christian and a strict disciplinarian. He inspired in Max a penchant for defying authority, while his interest in painting and sketching in nature influenced Max to take up painting himself. In 1909 Ernst enrolled in the University of Bonn, studying philosophy, art history, literature, psychology and psychiatry. He visited asylums and became fascinated with the art of the mentally ill patients; he also started painting that year, producing sketches in the garden of the Brühl castle, and portraits of his sister and himself. In 1911 Ernst befriended August Macke and joined his Die Rheinischen Expressionisten group of artists, deciding to become an artist. In 1912 he visited the Sonderbund exhibition in Cologne, where works by Pablo Picasso and post-Impressionists such as Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin profoundly influenced his approach to art. His own work was exhibited the same year together with that of the Das Junge Rheinland group, at Galerie Feldman in Cologne, and then in several group exhibitions in 1913.

In 1914 Ernst met Hans Arp in Cologne. The two soon became friends and their relationship lasted for fifty years. After Ernst completed his studies in the summer, his life was interrupted by World War I. Ernst was drafted and served both on the Western and the Eastern front. Such was the devastating effect of the war on the artist that in his autobiography he referred to his time in the army thus: "On the first of August 1914 M[ax].E[rnst]. died. He was resurrected on the eleventh of November 1918." However, for a brief period on the Western Front, Ernst was assigned to chart maps, which allowed him to continue painting. Several German Expressionist painters died in action during the war, among them Macke and Franz Marc.



  • Pietà or Revolution by Night (1923)
  • Saint Cecilia (1923)
  • The Wavering Woman (1923)
  • Ubu Imperator (1923)
  • Of This Men Shall Know Nothing (1923)
  • Two Children Are Threatened by a Nightingale (1924)
  • Woman, Old Man and Flower (1924)
  • Paris Dream (1924–25)
  • The Blessed Virgin Chastises the Infant Jesus Before Three Witnesses: A.B., P.E. and the Artist (1926)
  • Forest series, e.g. Forest and Dove (1927), The Wood (1927)
  • Rendezvous of Friends – The Friends Become Flowers (1928)
  • Loplop series, e.g. Loplop Introduces Loplop (1930), Loplop Introduces a Young Girl (1930)
  • City series, e.g. Petrified City (1933), Entire City (1935–36, two versions)
  • Garden Aeroplane Trap series (1935–36)
  • The Joy of Living (1936)
  • The Fireside Angel (1937)
  • The Fascinating Cypress (1940)
  • The Robing of the Bride (1940)
  • Totem and Taboo (1941)
  • Marlene (1941)
  • Napoleon in the Wilderness (1941)
  • Day and Night (1941–42)
  • The Antipope (1942)
  • Europe After the Rain II (1940–42)
  • Surrealism and Painting (1942)
  • Vox Angelica (1943)
  • Everyone Here Speaks Latin (1943)
  • Painting for Young People (1943)
  • The Eye of Silence (1944)
  • Dream and Revolution (1945)
  • The Temptation of St Anthony (1945)
  • The Phases of the Night (1946)
  • Design In Nature (1947)
  • Inspired Hill (1950)
  • Colorado of Medusa, Color-Raft of Medusa (1953)
  • Mundus est fabula (1959)
  • The Garden of France (1962)
  • The Sky Marries the Earth (1964)
  • The World of the Naive (1965)
  • Ubu, Father and Son (1966)
  • Birth of a Galaxy (1969)
  • "La dernière forêt" (The last forest) (1960–1970)
  • Fiat modes (1919, portfolio of lithographs)
  • Illustrations for books by Paul Éluard: Répétitions (1922), Les malheurs des immortels (1922), Au défaut du silence (1925)
  • Histoire Naturelle (1926, frottage drawings)
  • La femme 100 têtes (1929, graphic novel)
  • Rêve d'une petite fille qui voulut entrer au carmel (1930, graphic novel)
  • Une Semaine de Bonté (1934, graphic novel)
  • Paramythes (1949, collages with poems)
  • Illustrations for editions of works by Lewis Carroll: Symbolic Logic (1966, under the title Logique sans peine), The Hunting of the Snark (1968), and Lewis Carrols Wunderhorn (1970, an anthology of texts)
  • Deux Oiseaux (1970, lithograph in colors)
  • Aux petits agneaux (1971, lithographs)
  • Paysage marin avec capucin (1972, illustrated book with essays by various authors)
  • Oiseaux en peril (1975, etchings with aquatint in colors; published posthumously)
  • Bird (c. 1924)
  • Oedipus (1934, two versions)
  • Moonmad (1944)
  • An Anxious Friend (1944)
  • Capricorn (1948)
  • Two and Two Make One (1956)
  • Immortel (1966–67)
  • Many of Ernst's works from Une Semaine de Bonté are used in albums by American rock group The Mars Volta. Also, Barefoot In The Head, a collaboration between guitarist Thurston Moore and saxophonists Jim Sauter and Don Dietrich of Borbetomagus, features a collage from this same book.
  • American rock group Mission of Burma titled two songs after the artist: "Max Ernst" was the b-side of their first 1980 single (now included on the CD of Signals, Calls and Marches), mentioning two of Ernst's paintings (The Blessed Virgin Chastises the Infant Jesus and Garden Airplane-Trap) and ending with the words "Dada dada dada ..." repeated many times and distorted via tape loop; their 2002 album OnOffOn features "Max Ernst's Dream".
  • Writer J. G. Ballard makes numerous references to the art works of Max Ernst in his breakthrough novel The Drowned World (1962) and the experimental collection of short stories The Atrocity Exhibition (1970).
  • Europe After the Rain was used by musician John Foxx as the title for the opening track of his 1981 album The Garden.
  • (The) Eye Of Silence was used by musician Cavestar (Kevin Crosslin) as the title of a track from his 1997 album Cavestar.
  • The first edition of the Penguin paperback edition of James Blish's A Case of Conscience uses details from The Eye of Silence as cover art.
  • Ernst's alter-ego Loplop appears in China Miéville's 1998 debut novel King Rat.
  • German experimental electronic musician Thomas Brinkmann has made numerous references to Max Ernst and Loplop in his productions and record labels.
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Wikipedia

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