October 14, 2004

Max Ernst's Blues

Leafing through my book on Max Ernst (as already plundered for these previous entries), I was struck by a group of illustrations featuring paintings Ernst made in the years 1957-9, when he was in his late 60s. If these are at all representative, then there must have been a good deal of blue on his palette during this time…

'The Dark Gods', by Max Ernst, oil-on-canvas, 1957, Museum Folkwang, Essen.


'For Alice's Friends' (detail), by Max Ernst, oil-on-canvas, 1957, Anne Doll Collection, Paris.

Ernst, and his wife Dorothea Tanning, began the year 1957 in Sedona, Arizona, where they had previously lived, ca. 1946-53. From there, the couple returned to their new home in Paris, spending some time in New York en route. They spent most of the rest of their lives in France, and Ernst became a French citizen in 1958. This was a time when Ernst’s reputation was in the ascendant: there were exhibitions devoted to his work in New York, a prize was awarded him in Germany, books were published about him in France. Even so, it seems he still saw himself as more a marginal figure than any kind of ‘grand old man’.

'Albertus Magnus', by Max Ernst, oil-on-canvas, 1957, De Ménil Family Collection, Houston.


'33 Little Girls Chasing Butterflies' (detail), by Max Ernst, oil-on-canvas, 1958, Ernst Bayeler Gallery, Basel.
My wanderings, my anxieties, my impatiences, my doubts, my beliefs, my hallucinations, my loves, my rages, my revolts, my contradictions, my refusals to submit to any discipline, even my own, the sporadic visits of Perturbation, My Sister, The Hundred-Headless Woman, none of these have succeeded in creating a climate favourable to the working out of a calm, serene body of work. Like my behaviour, my work is not harmonious in the sense of the classical composers, or even of the classical revolutionaries. Seditious, uneven, contradictory, it is unacceptable for specialists in art, in culture, in behaviour, in morals. It has the power, on the other hand, to enchant my accomplices, the poets, the pataphysicians, some illiterates - Max Ernst, 1959.
'Window', by Max Ernst, oil-on-canvas, 1958, Ernst Bayeler Gallery, Basel.


'The Illustrious Forger of Dreams', by Max Ernst, oil-on-canvas, 1959, Jeffrey Loria Collection, New York.

Click on the images to see them in much closer detail: note that the full jpegs are quite large (500 Kb +). Note also that the originals of the second, fourth and sixth of these images were all slightly larger than A4, so these were not captured in full. My source, as before, is the 1977 volume on Ernst edited by Edward Quinn.

Posted by misteraitch at October 14, 2004 07:07 PM | TrackBack

Those are amazing! I am usually a Renaissance/Classical sort of girl, but I really love those. I'll have to check at the Art Institute next time I'm there for some of his later works. Thanks for posting these.

Posted by: Peggasus on October 14, 2004 06:49 PM

these are gorgeous, so different from his earlier work, which i'm more familiar with.

if you find yourself in new york next spring - the met will be mounting the biggest ernst show in years, with over 200 pieces on view.

Posted by: carlos on October 14, 2004 07:25 PM

right now, there's an exhibition in hamburg on ernst's "dream-landscapes". at least the poster uses a picture belonging to the 57to60-group (that's what i guess... it really looks like).


Posted by: klaas on October 15, 2004 07:06 PM

How lovely are all of these. I will try to go to NYC during that show. Max is one of the greatest artists. I love his collages.

Posted by: eva on October 17, 2004 06:46 PM

it, and I don't have the words. And, I've written cross a few where the words are to that same point, but tattoo although I can hear music to set them to, it's jerusalem nothing solid, or it isn't fully Right. That's weird bible for me

Posted by: jesus on December 3, 2004 06:32 PM

Thanks for your input on this one, jesus.

Posted by: misteraitch on December 3, 2004 10:49 PM

Marvellous pictures! However, among the pictures shown here I miss "Euclid" which is certainly one of the most prominent of "Max Ernst's Blues" (indeed, it is also called "Portrait Bleu"). Maybe you could add it to the others above. In any case, thanks for the other pictures!

Posted by: Rainer on December 15, 2006 09:34 PM
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