Born in Brühl in the Rhineland in 1891, the German painter, graphic artist and sculptor Max Ernst made a name as a founding member of the Cologne Dada Group and became one of the most important artists of the surrealist movement. After the end of the Second World War, which caused him to flee to the USA, Ernst returned to Europe in 1953 and died in Paris on April 1,
After his first contact with painting by his father and amateur painter Philipp Ernst, Max Ernst studied classical philosophy, psychology and psychiatry in addition to art history. Ernst recorded his first successes as an artist in 1913, when he took part in the exhibition of Rheinische Expressionisten in Bonn together with his artist friend August Macke and other artists. In the same year he traveled to Paris, where he met with Macke artists such as Guillaume Apollinaire and Robert Delaunay. He also made an acquaintance with Hans Arp, with whom he founded the Cologne Dada group in 1919 together with Johannes Theodor Baargeld. The Dadaists aroused public resentment in Cologne, so the second Dada exhibition was temporarily closed. In 1922 the artist finally moved to Paris. In the house of his married couple Paul and Gala Éluard, Ernst designed a cycle of fifteen wall paintings, consisting of grotesque fabulous creatures and paradise gardens, which, however, were covered by the postmothers and were only rediscovered in 1969. From 1924 Max Ernst was one of the most important members of the surrealist group around the writer André Breton. In Paris, for the first time, Ernst applied his newly developed techniques of frottage and grattage. Together with Salvador Dalí, Ernst participated in the Exposition International du Surréalisme in Paris in 1938, which turned out to be the final manifestation of the surrealist movement. Alongside Éluard and Man Ray, Ernst also emerged from the group of artists on the basis of political and personal tensions. After his flight to the USA in 1941, Ernst participated in the exhibition Artists in Exile in New York with artists such as Duchamp, Léger, Mondrian and Tanguy in 1942, and developed a new technique - drip painting - which became the inspiration of young Jackson Pollock. In 1946, Ernst moved with the American painter Dorothea Tanning to the desert of Sedona, Arizona, where he explored the art of native Indians Hopi. In 1951, the city of Brühl presented a first retrospective. Further large retrospectives followed. in the Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris in 1959, in the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1961, and in the Albertina in Vienna in 2013. Other artistic highlights were the presentation of the Grand Prix of the Venice Biennial for painting in 1954 and his first solo exhibition in Basel 1955.