Max Ernst was born in 1891, in Brühl, Germany. Initially a student of philosophy and psychology, he became interested in the art of the mentally ill, and abandoned his original studies to concentrate on producing his own art. After serving in the German army during WWI, he joined the Dada movement and became renowned for his controversial art happenings and bizarre collages.
In 1922 Ernst moved to Paris where he associated with Andre Breton and became a founding member of the Surrealist movement. He pioneered new ‘frottage’ techniques inspired by Automatism, and created dream-like collage novels and sculpture. In 1941 he moved to America where he married (and later divorced) Peggy Guggenheim. He returned to France after 1953, and a year later was awarded the Grand Prize for painting at the Venice Biennale.
Ernst died in Paris, in 1976.