Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Max Ernst was born in Brühl, Germany, near Cologne. In 1909, he enrolled in the University at Bonn to study philosophy but soon abandoned the courses. He began painting that year. In 1919 Ernst visited Paul Klee and created paintings, block prints and collages, and experimented with mixed media. During World War I he served in the German army and after the war, filled with new ideas, Ernst, Jean Arp and social activist Alfred Grünwald, formed the Cologne, Germany Dada group, but two years later, in 1922, he returned to the artistic community at Montparnasse in Paris.

Constantly experimenting, in 1925 he invented a graphic art technique called frottage, which uses pencil rubbings of objects as a source of images. The next year he collaborated with Joan Miró on designs for Sergei Diaghilev. With Miró's help, Ernst pioneered grattage in which he troweled pigment from his canvases.

In Montparnasse he was a central figure in the birth of Breton's desire to ostracize Ernst's friend Éluard from the surrealist group.Ernst began to sculpt in 1934, and spent time with Alberto Giacometti.Ernst developed a fascination with birds that was prevalent in his work. His alter ego in paintings, which he called Loplop, was a bird. He suggested this alter-ego was an extension of himself stemming from an early confusion of birds and humans. He said his sister was born soon after his bird died. Loplop often appeared in collages of other artists' work, such as Loplop presents André Breton.

Following the onset of World War II, Ernst was detained as an enemy alien in France but with the assistance of the American journalist Varian Fry in Marseille, he managed to escape the country.Ernst arrived in the United States in . Along with other artists and friends (Marcel Duchamp and Marc Chagall) who had fled from the war and lived in New York City, Ernst helped inspire the development of Abstract expressionism.

1 comment:

stacy said...

great post but no links