21st Apr 2018
The German artist, Max Ernst (1891-1976), was a major contributor to the theory and practice of Surrealism. Fleeing to New York with Peggy Guggenheim in 1941, to escape Nazi persecution, he entered into a short-lived marriage with her in the following year. Newman visited Ernst’s New York home that the artist shared with his new wife, gathering a number of their most treasured possessions into a corner. Ernst sat in front of them in a throne-like chair, creating clouds of cigarette smoke. When he was shown the resulting print, Ernst was delighted to discover the image of a bird in the smoke clouds, for it chimed with his then current activity of drawing birds, and so seemed to demonstrate the serendipitous and subconscious aspects of Surrealism.