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Max Ernst was born on april the first

''Virgin, chastising the child Jesus before three witnesses''

ax Ernst (1891-1976) a prolific artist of German origin, was a painter, a sculptor, a graphic artist and a poet. As a painter, Ernst was known for his inclination to confuse his images with the help of disruptive elements, and for  attacking the conventions and traditions of Art.

His ''Virgin, chastising  the child Jesus before three witnesses''  (1926), an oil on canvas, of figurative nature and surrealist spirit, counts among his most admired works. This scene of the Virgin spanking her son, proceeds from a childhood memory. At the age of seven, young Max ran away. When he was brought back home, the boy had to deal with his angry father. The painting is presented as one of the best expressions of anti-clericalism or anti-Catholicism of the Surrealists.

In 1909, Ernst visited insane asylums. He was fascinated by the drawings of the patients he found there. This Art of the mentally ill, was for Ernst a means of accessing the  primordial emotion and unfettered creativity. He was one of the first artists to apply  Sigmund Freud's investigative theories of the deep psyche, in order to explore the source of creativity.

Ernst formulated new ways of creating works to express the modern condition of Art. In 1925 he invented the technique of "frottage" which allows a pencil to move on a sheet placed on a surface with different materials. He also imagines the technique of "grattages''  which consists of scratching the painting of a canvas for the same purpose. He also explores the technique of decalcomania which consists of pressing paint between two surfaces
In 1934, Ernst began to sculpt and spent some time in the studio of Alberto Giacometti.

In September 1941, the arrival of Ernst in America, accompanied by other painters of the European avant-garde, electrified a whole generation of American artists. These artists from across the Atlantic helped develop abstract expressionism. Their influence was great on Americans such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning.
It was in 1936, with the publication of his book ''Beyond Painting'', that Ernst finally found financial ease.

Max Ernst died in 1976.

Max Ernst died in 1976.

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Last update: April 11  2018

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