Project Description

About collage technique

Is true, Max Ernst is not one of my favourite painters, but this is not enough to kill him…

As early as 1919 Max Ernst started working with a new and rigorous collage technique, with which Max Ernst designed totally new pictorial realities, full of enigmatic details and hidden symbolism, which are among the most fascinating surrealist works.

In May 1912 for the first time Picasso introduced collage in the art world by including a painted oil-cloth in his Still-life with Chair-caning  Picasso 1912 (Paris, Museum Picasso).

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Braque, still life on a table 1914 Centre Pompidou, Paris

Together with Braque in subsequent years experimented the wide range of expressive possibilities of the new media using all types of cuttings from newspapers or wrappers, leaving provocative collage “gestures” in the very fabric of the work.

The expressive possibilities of collage as a gesture where by 1914 already experimented by Picasso and Braque, so Max Ernst  a few years later found in the collage technique one of his favourites techniques (with which he could hide his rather limited drawing skills…) and developed an outstanding rigorous syntax (german language-like) for his newly developed collages. Max Ernst erases in his collages every trace of arbitrariness in the technique replacing it for coherence.

His Collage technique started by the criteria of the materials choice, the control of scale leaps and a very refine collage technique to conceal overlapping from the viewer. The Collage discipline Max Ernst developed became so perfect that he managed, as in a perfect crime, to erase every single clue.

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And volcanic women…, 1929 Max Ernst, Collage on paper, 20,5 x 20,5

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And volcanic women…, 1929 Max Ernst, detail

Max Ernst created his collages from illustrations taken from novels, textbooks, catalogues, natural science journals, 19th century sales catalogues and fragments from wood engravings. He used little scissors or even an scalpel in order to achieve cut edges that were perfectly exact and smooth.

One of the collages that like more is  the Murdering Airplane, 1920, Max Ernst

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Murdering Airplane, 1920, Max Ernst

 From May 26 to september 8th 2013 the Beyerle foundation houses a comprehensive exhibition about the German artist Max Ernst.