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Home » Glossary » Ernst, Max

Max Ernst (1891-1976) was a German-born artist and a key figure in the surrealist movement. He is known for his innovative approach to art-making, which challenged traditional notions of art and the role of the artist.

Ernst’s early work was influenced by the Dada movement, and he was a founding member of the Cologne Dada group in the 1910s. He later became associated with the surrealist movement, and his work is characterized by his interest in the subconscious mind and the irrational.

Ernst developed a range of techniques to create his surrealist works, including frottage (rubbing a pencil or other drawing tool over a textured surface to create a pattern), decalcomania (transferring patterns from one surface to another), and grattage (scraping or scratching the surface of a painting to reveal underlying layers of color and texture).

Some of Ernst’s most famous works include “The Elephant Celebes”, a painting of a distorted elephant, and “The Robing of the Bride”, a complex and surrealistic work that incorporates a range of symbolic imagery. Ernst was also known for his collages and sculptures, and his work has had a significant impact on modern and contemporary art.

Ernst lived and worked in several countries throughout his life, including Germany, France, and the United States. He was married to the artist Peggy Guggenheim, and was a member of the European avant-garde until his death in 1976.