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Max Ernst Biography

Max Ernst, a German painter and sculptor, was born in 1891 in Brühl. His father was the painter Philipp Ernst. Max started studying philosophy in 1909 at the University of Bonn, but quickly gave up his studies to devote himself entirely to painting. His first paintings were created between 1909 and 1913 and were expressionistic in style. In 1913, he moved to Paris, where he met Guillaume Apollinaire and Robert Delaunay. During the war, he returned to Germany to serve his country and was an active member of the Dada artistic community in Cologne. His works of this period were influenced by Duchamp and Klee. In 1919, he was introduced to the metaphysical painting of Giorgio de Chirico and in 1921, he befriended Paul Eluard. From this period onwards, he started exploring realistic fantasy and dreams in his paintings and was focused on the inner world. Max Ernst’s exploration is not limited to the subject or the rendering. In 1925, he invented the technique of rubbing, where a pencil is left to move freely on a sheet placed on a surface with different materials. This painting technique led to the creation of figures that were out of the dream world. During his travels, he also made various collages. During WW2, he moved to New York where he contributed to the birth of abstract expressionism. He returned to France in the 1950s and shortly after received an award at the Venice Biennale. Max Ernst produced many prints, his first prints being created in the 1950s. Many of Max Ernst’s prints were lithograph prints though he also created etching prints, woodcut prints and drypoint prints.

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