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Max Ernst

Brühl 1891 - 1976 Paris
Price range
500,000 – 3,000,000 USD +
Max Ernst was a central figure in European Dada and Surrealism. His œuvre manifests a confluence of the formal possibilities of collage and a fascination with psychology and the unconscious.

Ernst undertook wide-ranging compositional and technical experimentations to help him in the Surrealist quest for the beauty in the irrational. He notably invented frottage, grattage and oscillations which represented breakthroughs for ‘automatism’, a Surrealist concern for freeing the creative process by accessing the unconscious.

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Top 3 auction prices

15,987,500 $
16,322,500 $
24,435,000 $


The sales are: Sotheby’s New York – 16 May 2017 lot 4 (sculpture), Christie’s New York – 1 Nov 2011 lot 36, and Christie’s New York – 9 Nov 2022 lot 40 (sculpture).
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Books on Max Ernst

Nicholas Hall, Dawn Ades, Olivier Berggruen and J. Patrice Marandel, Endless Enigma: Eight Centuries of Fantastic Art, exh. cat. New York, 2019.

Werner Spies and Julia Drost, Max Ernst: Retrospective, exh. cat. Ostfildern, 2013.

Ralph Ubl, Prehistoric Future: Max Ernst and the Return of Painting between the Wars, transl. Elizabeth Tucker, Chicago, 2013.

Werner Spies and Sabine Rewald, eds., Max Ernst: A Retrospective, exh. cat. New York, 2005.

Jürgen Pech, Plastische Werke, Cologne, 2005.

Guido Magnaguagno and Juri Steiner, eds., Arnold Böcklin, Giorgio de Chirico, Max Ernst, exh. cat. Bern, 1997.

William A. Camfield, Max Ernst: Dada and the Dawn of Surrealism, exh. cat. New York, 1993.

Werner Spies, ed., Max Ernst: A Retrospective, exh. cat. London, 1991.

Werner Spies, Max Ernst: Frottagen, transl. Joseph M. Bernstein, London, 1986.

Werner Spies, Max Ernst: Œuvre Katalog, 6 vols. Houston, 1975.

Werner Spies, Max Ernst, Collagen Inventar und Widerspruch, Houston, 1974.

Alfred H. Barr, ed., Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism, exh. cat. New York, 1936.

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