Max Ernst was born in Germany in 1891. His father enjoyed painting (as a hobby) but Ernst’s interest in art did not begin until he went to Bonn University in 1909 to study psychology and philosophy. He began painting in 1910.
When World War I broke out, Ernst was forced to serve in the army. He was not pleased to do so and thought of his time in the army as an annoying interruption of his passion: art. He was able to do some painting, though, and showed work in 1916 in Berlin, Germany.
After the war, Ernst became friends with some Dadaists and joined the movement. He created Fruit of a Long Experience from junk, just as you did if you created your own recycled art last week. In 1922 he moved to Paris to be nearer to other Dada artists.
Ernst turned to Surrealism as many other Dadaists did (including Salvador Dali). Most interesting about Ernst’s Surrealist paintings was the bird he used to symbolize himself. Rather than painting himself into his paintings, as many artists did including Sandro Botticelli, Ernst painted a bird. The bird was called Loplop and can be found in a number of Ernst’s paintings: Loplop Introduces Loplop, Surrealism and Painting.
During World War II, Ernst was twice sent to a concentration camp. The first time he was freed. The second time he had to escape. Peggy Guggenheim (Goo-gen-high-m), a lover and collector of art who set up museums all over the world, helped Ernst to safely reach the U.S. He and Peggy Guggenheim married but the relationship didn’t last long.
In New York, Ernst helped to bring about Abstract Expressionism (the art movement that included Jackson Pollock).
Ernst moved back to France in 1953 where he lived until his death in 1976.
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