Landschaftsverband Rheinland - Qualität für Menschen


Max Ernst – The Artist

The painter, sculptor, graphic artist and poet Max Ernst is one of the most important representatives of the Dadaism and Surrealism. Early in his life he breaks with conventional painting and turns towards the use of indirect techniques such as overpaintings, collage, frottage (rubbing technique), grattage (scrapping technique) and decalcomania (tracing technique with oil colours). These techniques serve the systematic survey of the realms „Beyond Painting" (Max Ernst). By exploiting his hallucinatory capabilities Max Ernst reinterprets objects and structures of his environment to then fix his visionary perception of the world. The alienation of the ordinary as well as the irritating orchestration of the inexplicable and the dreamlike are consistently broken up by irony and humor.

1891
Max Ernst was born on 2 April in Brühl (Germany) to Philipp Ernst, a deaf-mute teacher, and his wife Luise. He gets painting lessons from his father, who draws and paints in his spare time.

1910–1914
During his studies in Classical Philology, Philosophy, Psychology and History of Art at the University of Bonn, Max Ernst makes the acquaintance of the Expressionist artist August Macke. In Macke's home he meets Robert Delaunay and Guillaume Apollinaire.
In 1913 Max Ernst takes part in the exhibition of the „Rhineland Expressionists" at Cohen's Art and Bookshop in Bonn and in „The First German Autumn Salon" at the gallery „Der Sturm" in Berlin. In Cologne Max Ernst meets Hans Arp, who remains a friend for the rest of his life.

1914-1918
Military service during World War I.
1916 First solo exhibition at „Der Sturm" in Berlin.
1917 Max Ernst publishes the article „On the origins of colour" in the magazine „Der Sturm".
Short time before the end of the war he marries the art historian Luise Straus, whom he had met during his studies in Bonn.

1919
In the summer of 1919 Max Ernst travels with his wife and Johannes Theodor Baargeld  (a.k.a. Alfred Ferdinand Gruenwald) to Munich where he visits Paul Klee. In the Goltz bookstore Ernst sees the magazine „Valori Plastici" with reproductions of works of Carlo Carrá and Giorgio de Chirico.
Founds the Cologne Dada movement together with Baargeld and Hans Arp. He works with block prints, pencil rubbings, overpaintings and collages. The  lithographic portfolio 'Fiat modes pereat ars' is published by the beginning of 1920.

1920
Birth of Ernst's son Ulrich (later called Jimmy).

1921
Dada-meeting in Tarrenz (Tyrol) where Max Ernst joins Hans Arp, Tristan Tzara, Johannes Theodor Baargeld and André Breton. The magazine "Dada au grand air – The War of Singers in Tyrol" is published in September.
2 May. The first Max Ernst exhibition opens at the gallery "Au Sans Pareils" in Paris. The exhibition displays first works executed in indirect technique.

1922
The volumes of poetry "Répétitions" (Repetitions) and "Les malheurs des immortels" (The Misfortunes of the Immortals) are published in cooperation with Paul Eluard, for which Max Ernst attributes the collages.
Ernst moves to Paris and lives with the Eluard family.

1924
15 October. André Breton publishes the "Surrealist Manifesto". Max Ernst will play a major role in the development of the Surrealist art.

1926
Jeanne Bucher in Paris publishes the  "Histoire Naturelle" (Natural History), a portfolio with 34 collotype prints after frottage drawings.
Max Ernst divorces Luise Straus.

1927
Marriage to Marie-Berthe Aurenche.
Max Ernst creates series of forest, shell, birds and hordes paintings.

The years 1929-1976