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Max Ernst (1891-1976)

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Without any focus on Ernst i have maneged to collect many titles on this artist. The first time i noticed hsi name is when i was very much interested in the the Fantastic / HET FANTASTICHE in de Kunst ( book availabel at www.ftn-books.com

fantastisch guilbert

Max Ernst, in full Maximilian Maria Ernst, (born April 2, 1891, Brühl, Germany—died April 1, 1976, Paris, France), German painter and sculptor who was one of the leading advocates of irrationality in art and an originator of the Automatism movement of Surrealism. He became a naturalized citizen of both the United States (1948) and France (1958).

Here is the excellent entry from the Encyclopedea Britannica

Ernst’s early interests were psychiatry and philosophy, but he abandoned his studies at the University of Bonn for painting. After serving in the German army during World War I, Ernst was converted to Dada, a nihilistic art movement, and formed a group of Dada artists in Cologne. With the artist-poet Jean Arp, he edited journals and created a scandal by staging a Dada exhibit in a public restroom. More important, however, were his Dada collages and photomontages, such as Here Everything Is Still Floating (1920), a startlingly illogical composition made from cutout photographs of insects, fish, and anatomical drawings ingeniously arranged to suggest the multiple identity of the things depicted.

In 1922 Ernst moved to Paris, where two years later he became a founding member of the Surrealists, a group of artists and writers whose work grew out of fantasies evoked from the unconscious. To stimulate the flow of imagery from his unconscious mind, Ernst began in 1925 to use the techniques of frottage (pencil rubbings of such things as wood grain, fabric, or leaves) and decalcomania (the technique of transferring paint from one surface to another by pressing the two surfaces together). Contemplating the accidental patterns and textures resulting from these techniques, he allowed free association to suggest images he subsequently used in a series of drawings (Histoire naturelle, 1926) and in many paintings, such as The Great Forest (1927) and The Temptation of St. Anthony (1945). These vast swamplike landscapes stem ultimately from the tradition of nature mysticism of the German Romantics.

In 1929 Ernst returned to collage and created The Woman with 100 Heads, his first “collage novel”—a sequence of illustrations assembled from 19th- and 20th-century reading material and a format which he is credited with having invented. Soon afterward he created the collage novels A Little Girl Dreams of Taking the Veil (1930) and A Week of Kindness (1934).

After 1934 Ernst’s activities centred increasingly on sculpture, using improvised techniques in this medium just as he had in painting. Oedipus II (1934), for example, was cast from a stack of precariously balanced wooden pails to form a belligerent-looking phallic image.

At the outbreak of World War II, Ernst moved to the United States, where he joined his third wife, the collector and gallery owner Peggy Guggenheim (divorced 1943), and his son, the American painter Jimmy Ernst. While living on Long Island, New York, and after 1946 in Sedona, Arizona (with his fourth wife, the American painter Dorothea Tanning), he concentrated on such sculptures as The King Playing with the Queen (1944), which shows African influence. After his return to France in 1953, his work became less experimental: he spent much time perfecting his modeling technique in traditional sculptural materials.

In the meantime i have collected many Max Ernst titles at www.ftn-books.com

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Felix Labisse (1905-1982)

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Felix Labisse, is for me one of the great surrealist painters from last century and i have a life long admiration for the artist and his works.

It must have been around 1970 that i visited in the company of my parents Paris. I started to grow an interest in art and limited editions because i had a membership with ARTA . a small gallery with a subscription program to buy at membership prices graphic art. My entire collection at that moment well below 5 lithographs.

Paris it was and beside the scenic neighbourhoods , museums and tourist attractions we went to shop at “galerie Lafayette”. We took the escalator and on the top floor …there it was . a true ART gallery and the first piece on show was this lithograph in a signed edition.

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I was so impressed with the lithograph that i borrowed the money with my father to buy it and since it has been in my collection. I still love the beauty of the typical Labisse female figures. It is not on the wall anymore, but is still very much appreciated as a wonderful piece of art that i cherish for being a Labisse and for being one of the first pieces of art that i ever bought.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice Labisse publications available

btw. The beautiful portrait of Labisse sitting is by Brassai