Ernst, Max

Ernst, Max
   painter, illustrator, and sculptor; member of Co-logne's Dada* circle and a founder of French Surrealism. Born in Brühl, as a young man (1908-1911) he studied philosophy and psychology, training himself as an artist in his spare time. Aroused by Nietzsche s philosophy and van Gogh s art, he was attracted to Expressionism,* joined Junge Rheinland, and began painting in earnest in 1912, exhibiting with Hans Arp and Paul Klee* at Ber-lin's* Sturm gallery in 1913. In 1919, after serving in the war, he and several other artists formed a Dada circle in Cologne; he displayed his work, mostly collages, at Berlin s First International Dada Fair of June 1920. Invited in 1921 by Andre Breton to exhibit in Paris, he moved to France and helped found Surrealism in 1924. With Man Ray, Picasso, Arp, and Klee, he exhibited at the 1925 Premiere Exposition surréaliste. Disparaged in 1926 for creating costumes for the ballet Romeo and Juliet, he officially broke with Surrealism but remained intellectually faithful to the movement.
   Ernst s work has a symbolic, dreamlike quality. Swamps, forests, and prehis-toric landscapes—sometimes containing mythological figures—evoke mystery. In 1925 he developed his trademark technique of "frottage," in which the paper to be painted is placed over a rough surface such as grained wood and rubbed until it acquires the surface s quality. Following a sojourn in Switzerland, he began sculpting in 1934. The Nazis included his work in their 1937 exhibit Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art). He was interned in France after the outbreak of World War II, but escaped to Spain and flew to the United States in 1941.
   REFERENCES:Clair, 1920s; Encyclopedia of World Art.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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