Day 3: Max Ernst
By Sam Reeve
You’ve seen a horror artist and the colourful work of an adorable Japanese lady, but now it’s time to get old school with Max Ernst, the German Surrealist.
Born in 1891 near Cologne, Max was heavily influenced by his father Phillip, who was an amateur painter himself. In university, Max studied philosophy, art history and literature, as well as psychiatry, which lead him to visit asylums. It was there that Max became fascinated with the strange art created by the patients.
Max was drafted during WW1, but luckily for those of us that love his work, he survived, and married shortly after the war and had a son (who went on to become a painter as well). Befriending other surrealists of the era like Paul Éluard, Joan Miró i Ferrà and Hans Arp, Max was always surrounded by like-minded creative people.
Just before WW2 Max was interned in France, but thanks to some of his artist buddies he got out, though he was soon arrested again by the Gestapo. Luckily he was able to escape and flee to America. There he met and married his third (and final) wife, Dorothea Tanning, who was also an artist.
They both moved to a small town in the south of France in the early 50’s, and Max continued his work until he died in Paris in 1976 at the age of 84.
Sounds like this guy’s art is as crazy as his life was.