About Max Ernst

Max Ernst photo
Max Ernst

Born in 1891 in Bruhl, Germany, Ernst studied art early, but his studies were interrupted when he was drafted to fight in World War I. Living in Cologne after the war he became a founder of the Dada movement there. He married Louise Straus and they had a son, Jimmy. Ernst would join the surrealists in 1922, the same year he left Louise and began to live in a ménage à trios with Paul and Gala Eluard. His contributions to the group would include the development of the techniques frottage and grattage as well as the collage novel.

In the late 1930s he moved with British painter Leonora Carrington to a small town in the south of France. When the war started, Ernst was interned but would eventually escape to the United States with the help of Peggy Guggenheim in 1941, whom he also married. Ernst and Guggenheim divorced in 1945, and he would leave New York City in 1946 with his new wife Dorothea Tanning. They lived in Sedona, Arizona before resettling in France in 1953. Received the Grand Prize for painting at the Venice Biennale in 1954, and has had major retrospectives at Kunsthalle, Musée d’art Moderne, Paris; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Tate Gallery, London. Ernst died in Paris in 1976, true to surrealism till the end.