MAX ERNST – AT PALAZZO REALE MILAN
If you happen to be in Milan even for few days, you should not miss two of the ongoing exhibitions:
MAX ERNST – (until February 26th, 2023) on the main floor at Palazzo Reale, and
BOSCH AND AN ‘OTHER’ RENAISSANCE on the ground floor of the same building (until March 12, 2023).
Palazzo Reale is closed on Mondays. Pre-booking is highly recommended during the weekend. If you need an expert guide- lecturer please contact us at email@example.com
Opening times: 10.00 am until 7.30 pm. On Thursdays: open until 10.30 pm.
The exhibition, first Ernst retrospective in Italy ever, successfully reconstructs with 400 works the 70 years of activity of this
multifaceted artist, painter, sculptor, poet, designer, that experienced a variety of techniques and a plethora of styles.
Although he’s considered to be one of the ‘founding fathers’ of Surrealism and Dada movements, his work goes beyond any definition.
Ernst, for his cultural milieu, curiosity, and capacities of creating his own universe of visions, dreamy or devilish as they are,
was compared by some art critics to Hieronymus Bosch. His collage, grattage, frottage, decalcomania, oscillation and dripping techniques were a source of inspiration for young American artists such as Jackson Pollock, helping the birth of American Abstract Expressionism.
His profound interest in Sigmund Freud, and more in general in psychology and psychiatry helps the great German master to generate his unique imagery, based on memories of his childhood and of his war experiences, but also revolving around the natural world.
The retrospective at Palazzo Reale is divided into 9 sections, partly following the chronological developments, partly focusing on the
thematic fields peculiar to his approach to art, such as Eros and Metamorphosis, Nature and Vision, The Pleasure of Creating Forms.
Max Ernst’s long and complicated life started in 1891 in Bruhl, near Cologne (Germany). Born in a strict middle-class
Catholic family, he was the third of nine children. Max studied literature, philosophy, psychology, and psychiatry in Bonn.
However, his main interest were the arts, and soon got to know the works of Monet, Cezanne, van Gogh, Picasso, and de Chirico.
He was forced to join the army during World War I, was wounded twice, and remained traumatized
by this experience. After the war, he started with Jean Arp a group of artists in Cologne. His first collages
date from 1919. In 1922 he moved to Paris, where the Surrealists were moving their first steps. The
following year Ernst completed Men Shall Know Nothing of This, considered the first Surrealist painting.
Other important works of this Parisian period present at Palazzo Reale are Oedipus Rex (1922),
The Kiss (1927), Monument to Birds (1927), The Entire City (1934), L’Ange du Foyer (1937). During this period Max got married
for the second time, and later lived an intense love with the Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington. In 1939 he was arrested
as an enemy alien and interned. Subsequently, he was arrested again by the Gestapo, his art was labelled as ‘degenerate’.
In 1941 he was forced to flee to the United States, where his works where already known, with his son Johnny. In 1942 he
married Peggy Guggenheim, but the next year they divorced. His fourth wife was the artist Dorothea Tanning, with whom he moves to Sedona (Arizona,) and in 1948 he become U.S, citizen. Back to Paris in the 50es, where he continues his personal exploration with an amazing series of creations, including an enormous amount of graphic works, in front of which we remained literally open-mouthed!
Max Ernst died in 1976, on the night of his 85th birthday. Trying to epitomize his artistic experience using his own words:
Painting is neither decorative amusement, nor the plastic invention
of felt reality; it must be every time: invention, discovery, revelation.