Max Ernst: Dream and Revolution

Overview

The relevance of the art of Max Ernst (1891-1976) has boomed again in recent years, as a younger generation of painters takes inspiration from his hallucinated image horde and embraces his example as an artist devoted to self-renewal and the realms of the fantastical. Rock musicians and writers as diverse as Mission of Burma, Thurston Moore and J.G. Ballard have also drawn fruitfully on his achievements. Ernst's German Romantic iconography, reconceived in the Surrealist looking glass, is endlessly suggestive and ...
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Overview

The relevance of the art of Max Ernst (1891-1976) has boomed again in recent years, as a younger generation of painters takes inspiration from his hallucinated image horde and embraces his example as an artist devoted to self-renewal and the realms of the fantastical. Rock musicians and writers as diverse as Mission of Burma, Thurston Moore and J.G. Ballard have also drawn fruitfully on his achievements. Ernst's German Romantic iconography, reconceived in the Surrealist looking glass, is endlessly suggestive and generative: nighttime forests, caves and cliffs, dead moonlight, spectral faces and figures all populate his scenarios, and his ongoing relevance is further assured by his combination of this iconography with techniques such as collage, frottage, grattage and decalcomania, several of which were his own innovations. Max Ernst: Dream and Revolution assesses the entirety of this unique career.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9783775722353
  • Publisher: Hatje Cantz Verlag GmbH & Co KG
  • Publication date: 2/1/2009
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Werner Spies was born in Tuebingen in 1937, and since 1975 he has been a professor of 20th century art at the D sseldorf Art Academy. He was head of the MusEe National de l'Art Moderne at the Center Georges Pompidou in Paris from 1997-2000. Spies has gained international recognition as a critic and essayist, authoring several seminal works on 20th-century art in addition to editing a catalogue raisonnE of the works of Max Ernst.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 6, 2008

    innovative techniques in the art work of Max Ernst

    For their unmistakable surrealist style, especially their amorphous forms and irrational juxtapositions, Max Ernst's art work is easily and commonly associated with dreams, as if the paintings are dreamscapes. This book of 15 or so essays by European art historians reiterates this reading of Ernst--but only as a steppingstone (or orientation) to the revolution entailed in the Ernst art works. This is not revolution as a theme (as with politics or history, for example) like dreams, but revolution in technique--with the making of art--which brought such originality and uniqueness to the art. A closing section titled "Max Ernst's Artistic Techniques" describes briefly the techniques collage, frottage, grattage, decalcomania, and oscillation used by Ernst to create his representations and effects.<BR/><BR/>Essays outside of introductory ones fall within sections on locations and respective time periods--e. g., France 1922-1941, America 1941-1953. Germany and Europe are other locations respectively preceding and following these locations. The locations and time periods are not by themselves germane in revealing or explaining anything because evolution, stages of development, and even biography do not have much use in comprehending the artist's work. When Ernst began his work in Germany, modernist art was flourishing. While Ernst is a major exemplar of modernist art, he was not a pioneer or explorer of it. Rather than biography with its implication of changes over time, Ernst is better comprehended by discerning and relating to the instinct and intuition inhering in the art and which are its sources. Ernst's paintings reflect the element of psychology pervading practically all parts of modernist culture. The paintings relate more to the Jungian concepts of archetypes rather than Freudian principles and ideas about personality or relationships. A chapter on the paintings' sources in "historical myths" in conjunction with Ernst's interest in Native American spirituality while he was in the Southwest U.S. explores this topic.<BR/><BR/>For Ernst, techniques were agencies to record his deepest senses. For most artists, especially modern artists, such a conscious concentration on technique would result in a formality or anonymity in painting. Abstract expression is a prime example of how technique can take over art. And so in ways are the works of Jackson Pollack and Philip Guston (to name only a couple of modernist artists); although technique does not take over their work nearly to the extent as with abstract expressionism. But Ernst was so open to the fertility of psychological life that technique was not like a constraint or impress, but rather like a catalyst bringing on highly original imagery. This is the angle from which this work comes to Max Ernst. In taking up extensively what may seem to be the specialized topic of technique and Ernst, the book actually gives a broad, germane understanding of the art in bringing together its creation and its perdurance. As introductory material brings up, a new generation of art lovers would benefit from an appreciation of his work beyond perennial interest in it simply for its exotic, often mystical style.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2009

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