A prolific German artist Max Ernst was born on 2 April 1891 in Brühl, near Cologne. Despite the fact that Max Ernst never received any formal artistic training, he became one of the most prominent German artists. During 1910-1914 Max Ernst studied psychiatry and philosophy at Bonn University. Also, he took a deep interest in painting.
At the beginning of the First World War Ernst was call up for military service, where he served in the field artillery till the end of the war. Even during the war Max Ernst never dropped his interest in art. During the war, in 1916, Ernst he participated in the “Sturm” exhibition which took place in Berlin.
After demobilization Ernst decided to stay in Cologne. There, Ernst with his friend Johannes Alfred Grünwald, founded a group of Dadaists. In 1920 they organized an exhibition at the Winter Brewery in Cologne. But the exhibition was closed by the police with reference to obscenity. The works of this period are the following: Fruit of a Long Experience, The Hat Makes the Man, Dada-Gauguin, etc.)
In 1922, Ernst’s Dadaist friends, Gala and Paul Eluard, André Breton, Tristan Tzara, and others invited Max Ernst to Paris. The same year he moved to the city of romance. There he painted A Reunion of Friends, where he depicted himself and all his friends. During the early Parisian period the Max Ernst successfully combined the techniques of painting, collage in large-scale paintings with enigmatic plots, e.g Teetering Woman, 1923; Oedipus Rex, 1922; Two Children are Threatened by a Nightingale, 1924; Teetering Woman, 1923; etc.)
Max Ernst supported the Surrealists. Ernst invented a new technique named frottage (pencil rubbings on paper or canvas). The painting Eve, the Only One Left to Us was created using this technique. In the late 1920s Ernst in his artworks showed dark forests, gloomy cliffs, mysterious caves, dead moonlight, figures and faces which appear like ghosts.
Max Ernst created large-sized pictures, used frottage and grattage techniques. In 1938 he settled in Saint Martin d’Ardèche in the South of France. There he painted his famous artwork The Robing of the Bride. Also, Ernst produced books of his collages.
At the beginning of the Second World War Max Ernst was arrested by French authorities. In few weeks later he was discharged. Soon after German army occupied France, he was arrested by the Nazis. Fortunately with the help of Peggy Guggenheim, a sponsor of the arts, Ernst managed to escape and move to America.
In 1941-1945 Ernst lived in NY, where he shared his knowledge and experience with younger American painters, thus leaving a profound influence on the development of American modern art. In the USA Ernst got interested in sculpture. In 1953 Max Ernst returned to Europe and settled in France. He died on 1st April 1976 in Paris, one day before his 85th birthday.