Max Ernst: A Retrospective

Apr 29, 2013 6:39PM

Painter, sculptor, graphic artist and poet Max Ernst was one of the most ingenuous artists of the modern era. Initially a Dadaist in Cologne,when he moved to Paris he became a pioneer of both Surrealism and techniques like collage (he invented the collage novel), frottage and grattage. A perpetual innovator of figures, forms and techniques, Ernst was continually reorienting and revitalizing his art throughout his life. The result is a gargantuan body of work, whose abiding motif was the bird: an alter-ego he named Loplop. Ernst’s deft talent at handling dream imagery, the abrupt breaks that mark the many phases of his work and his constant reconnaissance of method coalesce to form a summation of his oeuvre. This career overview--published to coincide with a major retrospective at the Albertina in Vienna, traveling to the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen/Basel--presents the abundance of Ernst’s multifaceted oeuvre in a selection of more than 150 paintings, drawings, collages and sculptures, alongside illustrated books and other documents. With more than 250 color reproductions, the catalogue also illuminates Ernst’s working processes, as combines references to the past with the political events of his time and a visionary view of the future. 

Max Ernst (1891–1976) was born near Cologne. While studying at the University of Bonn he became fascinated with the art of mental patients, and through an early friendship with Hans Arp, joined the Dada movement. In 1921 he befriended André Breton, moving to Paris and cofounding Surrealism. With the Nazi invasion of France in 1939, Ernst fled to America with the assistance of Peggy Guggenheim, only returning to France in 1953 with his third wife, Dorothea Tanning. He died in Paris in 1976.

Get the Artsy app
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play
Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019