Max Ernst 1891-1976


Max Ernst (1891-1976) was born in Brühl, near Cologne. He began to study philosophy at the University of Bonn in 1909, but became increasingly preoccupied with painting; self-taught, but influenced by van Gogh and Macke. Ernst was aa rtillery officer in the First World War. The paintings of de Chirico helped to stimulate his interest in dream-like fantastic imagery, and he founded the Cologne Dada group with Baargeld and Arp 1919-21. Ernst also produced collages and, later, paintings with irrational combinations of imagery. His first one-man exhibition was held at the Galerie Au sans Pareil, Paris, 1921. In 1922 moved to Paris, having moved to Paris his friendship with Breton and Eluard led to active participation in the Surrealist movement. His discovery of the technique of frottage (rubbing) in 1925 provided him with a means of evoking hallucinatory visions. Collage novels and illustrations, including La Femme 100 Têtes 1929 and Une Semaine de Bonté 1934. He made his first sculpture in 1934. From Paris Ernst travelled to to the USA as a refugee in 1941, living first in or near New York, then in Sedona, Arizona; from 1950he  again returned to live mainly in France. He was awarded the main painting prize at the 1954 Venice Biennale.