Max Ernst

Mer et soleil [Sea and Sun] (Dated 1925)

About this artwork

Like many Surrealist artists, Ernst was interested in the use of chance and automatism to try and produce new images from his unconscious mind. He often used techniques which created unusual and unplanned paint effects. Here, Ernst has created textured lines on the surface of the painting by dragging a comb through wet paint. The cloud-covered sun is reflected in the sea, which is suggested by combed waves in the lower half of the painting. Ernst painted many seascapes, and this painting is one of a number of works which feature a large circle floating above the horizon. The work was also influenced by alchemical illustrations.

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Max Ernst

Max Ernst

German-French painter Ernst was born near Cologne in Germany. After studying philosophy at university he turned his attention to art, and became the leader of the Cologne Dada group in 1919. He moved to Paris in 1922 to work with the Surrealists, adapting the techniques of collage and photomontage for use by the group. He worked in a range of media throughout his artistic career, producing work that was irregular, experimental and highly imaginative. The Gallery has an excellent collection of his work, including eleven paintings and collages as well as drawings, prints and illustrated books.