Max Ernst

La Forêt [The Forest] (About 1928)

About this artwork

The dark, mysterious forest is a common subject in German Romantic art and was one of Ernst’s own favourite themes. The forest held a personal significance for the artist, as he never forgot the childhood feelings of enchantment and terror induced by his first sight of the forests south of Cologne when aged just three. Ernst painted a series of ‘forest’ works towards the end of the 1920s, drawing on his fear and fascination to produce paintings in which the forest appears as a forbidding and impenetrable wall, hemming in the viewer and shutting out the world beyond.

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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.