Cat Has Had the Time of His Life Recollection Used Books Logo

    thin line

    Gallery of Saints & Sinners from our Daily Bleed...

// --


Max Ernst, artist in many media, remembered primarily for his activities in the Dada period -- see Hans Arp, Hugo Ball, Tristan Tzara, & other fellow Dadas -- he was also one of the most important artists identified with the Surrealist movement, until André Breton "excommunicated" him. For most of his life, Ernst rejected identification with any group. He hated to be categorized. A perfect Saint (April 2) for the Daily Bleed!

Max Ernst Lives!

April 2 -- 1891 Max Ernst was born in Brühl, near Cologne, in the Rhineland. But he was never content with being born like ordinary persons. This is how he described the event in his mythic autobiography: The 2nd of April (1891) at 9:45 a.m Max Ernst had his first contact with the sensible world, when he came out of the egg which his mother had laid in the eagle's nest & which the bird had brooded for seven years.

Collage by SaintMeister James Koehnline

Blessed Virgin Chastises the Infant Jesus Before Three Witnesses


There is much information on the web about Max Ernst, but a good place to learn how his mind worked, if you can find a copy, is Beyond Painting, by Ernst & others, edited by Robert Motherwell (Wittenborn,Schultz, New York, 1948). Copies can be found. The most recent major publication about Max Ernst in English is the catalog of the exhibition Max Ernst: Dada & the Dawn of Surrealism (The Menil Collection/Prestel, 1993).

A short biography by Nick Burton can be found at & a longer appreciative essay by Stuart Nolen is at the World Socialist Web Site, In the town of his birth there is a small museum dedicated solely to Ernst.

From time to time there are temporary exhibitions in Brühl that are never seen elsewhere. You can find out about them, if you read German, at Ernst had important relationships, of varying length, with six women, four of whom he married, beginning with Luise Straus, mother of Jimmy Ernst, an artist worth seeking out for his own sake, as well as for that of his parents. Jimmy's autobiography, A Not So Still Life, reveals much about his absentee father. Max's relationship with Luise began in 1914, while she was a student of art history at the university in Bonn, where Max had enrolled in 1910.

1918 -- October 7 Max & Luise marry in Cologne. He returns to duty. She earns a graduate degree.
1918 -- Max is in contact with emerging socialist & avant-garde art groups. A book of poems with illustrations by Ernst is published.

1919 -- January through March Ernst & Baargeld distribute copies of radical publication, Der Ventilator at factories in Cologne. They organize an exhibition of work by the Bulletin D group -- the first public manifestation of Cologne Dada.

1920 -- On or around April 12, Ernst & Baargeld publish Die Schammade, the major publication of Cologne Dada.


1920 -- June 20 A son, Ulrich, always called Jimmy, is born to Max & Luise.

1921 -- Max, Luise, & Jimmy spend the summer at Imst, in the Tirol

1922 -- Late May Max & his wife & son begin another summer together in Imst

1922 -- June Paul & Gala Eluard join the Ernsts in Switzerland. While Ernst & Eluard work on their joint project, The Misfortunes of the Immortals, the two Eluards & Ernst establish an open three-sided relationship which excludes Luise.

1922 -- July 25 The Misfortunes of the Immortals is published in Paris.

1922 -- August Ernst abandons Luise & Jimmy, & moves in with the Eluards in a Paris suburb. In the Eluard house in Eaubonne, Ernst painted At the First Clear Word & other murals that covered the walls, & at least two of the doors, all of which were covered over for decades by subsequent owners, & then removed & placed on exhibit after their rediscovery -- like cave paintings!

At the First Clear Word

At the First Clear Word, 1923
Oil on plaster on canvas Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf; Mural from Paul Eluard's house in Eaubone, later transferred to canvas
See Mark Harden's Artchive, at &

1923 -- February 10 Ernst exhibits three works in the Salon of the Independent artists, including Oedipus Rex & Celebes. Oedipus Rex & Celebes

The third woman to play an important part in Ernst's life was Marie-Berthe Aurenche, whom he married in 1927. She is the one about whom least is said. She appears in a photo by Man Ray, 1928, along with Max, Lee Miller, & the photographer. & Max painted a double portrait of himself & Marie-Berthe, Loplop Paradise, 1931. We know that she suffered from delusions, but beyond that we don't know much. It was during his time with her that Ernst created his his first collage novel, The Hundred-Headless Woman.

August Sleeve

Leonora Carrington was the fourth woman whose life intersected that of Max Ernst in a major way. The two artists met in 1937, moved into a house together in 1938, & were separated by Ernst's two internments as an enemy alien, & finally by Ernst's escape to America & his marriage to his patron, Peggy Guggenheim. Leonora took the seaparation very hard, & lived to write about it from an asylum. When their relationship was current, in 1939, she painted a fantastic portrait of Max.

Max Ernst, by Leonora Carrington Ernst also painted Leonora, notably imbedded in a swampy jungle in Leonora in the Morning Light, 1940.

1941 -- Max Ernst manages, with the help of Varian Fry & friends, to leave embattled Europe & find refuge in the United States. He sails from Lisbon with Peggy Guggenheim, & marries her in December. In New York, he is reunited with Jimmy, now an American artist.

1942 -- A special issue of the New York Surrealist-oriented publication, View, edited by Charles Henri Ford & Parker Tyler, is dedicated to Max Ernst. This issue includes "Some Data on the Youth of Max Ernst, as Told by Himself, including the sentence describing his birth/hatching, above.

1942 -- Pessismistic about the war & its outcome, Ernst paints a major work that attracts much attention when it is first exhibited, helping to make him famous, at least in the small circles of art, in America. Using a title that he had used previously, he calls his picture Europe after the Rain. & in those days nobody had heard of acid rain.

Europe After Rain

1942 -- On or about December 25, Max meets Dorothea Tanning, the sixth woman, & fourth wife, with whom he lived for the rest of his life. This meeting is described by Dorothea in her autobiography, Birthday, in which she published reproductions of two paintings with the captions "He painted my portrait . . . & I his." Unfortunately, nobody has yet seen fit to make either of these portraits available on-line. The same is true of the annual birthday pictures that Max painted, all called "For D."

1943 -- Max divorces Peggy Guggenheim, & goes to spend the summer in Arizona with Dorothea.

1944 -- In a summer on Long Isalnd, Ernst begins creating a body of sculpture which will one day grow to be the basis of major exhibitions. One of the best known bronzes from this period (there are examples in the National Gallery & in the Museum of Miodern Art, New York) is The King Playing with the Queen.


1945 -- In a contest among painters, which includes Salvador Dali & Leonora Carrington among his competitors, Max Ernst receives the prize for his version of The Temptation of Saint Anthony.

St Anthony

1946 -- October 24 Max & Dorothea are married in a double ceremony with Man Ray & Juliet Bowser, in Beverly Hills.

1948 -- Beyond Painting is published. Ernst becomes a citizen of the United States. Working with found objects & cement, Ernst's creates one of his best-known sculptures, Capricorn. Here are Max & Dorothea relaxing with the creature when it was new.

1951 -- March & April Loni Pretzell, Max's sister, & her husband present a large retrospective of Ernst's work in the palace in Brühl. Max does not attend. 1953 -- Ernst resettles in Paris, visits his birthplace & his university.

1954 -- Ernst receives the prize for painting at the Biennale, Venice. His Dada friend Jean Arp recieves the prize for sculpture & his Surrealist colleague Joan Miró receives the printmaking prize.

1958 -- February 8 Max Ernst becomes a French citizen, no longer an enemy alien in his favorite country.

1964 -- December 31, midnight Max Ernst publishes his graphic masterpiece, Maximiliana, or the Unlawful Practice of Astronomy, a celebration of the work of Tempel, with typographic design by Iliazd.

1969 -- The murals from Eluard's house are discovered, restored, & taken to Paris.

1970 -- A volume containing almost all of Ernst's writings is published in Paris. [Dave: With or without comment, I recommend including here an image from the last decade of Ernst's life, for example A Moon is a Good Thing, 1970, which you can find at Galerien Online, Der Spiegel:

1975 -- The first volume of the comprehensive catalog of all Ernst's work is published. As of April 2, 1999, five volumes have been published, bringing the catalog up to 1953. There are at least two more to go.

April 1 -- 1976 Max Ernst, dies in Paris on the eve of his eighty-fifth birthday.

Use your back button to return to your previous page

anti-CopyRite 1999, more or less
Questions, suggestions, additions, corrections to Dave at

Whole Bloody Calendar