The collection spans 70 years of one of the most important, versatile, and fascinating artists of the 20th century: his time in Brühl and Bonn, his Dadaist activities in the Rhineland, his contributions to the Surrealist movement in France, his exile in the USA, and finally his return to Europe in 1953. In addition to paintings from the early period, the Max Ernst Museum holds the former Schneppenheim Collection, which comprises almost the entire graphic oeuvre of Max Ernst. Another highlight and at the same time the centrepiece of the exhibition are the 36 "D-paintings", birthday and love gifts from Max Ernst to his wife, the artist Dorothea Tanning, with whom he was associated for over three decades. Finally, the collection includes a unique bundle of over 700 photographic documents that trace the life of the artist.
In addition, an extensive collection from the Kreissparkasse Köln is on permanent loan: A unique ensemble of over 70 sculptures reveals the artist's sculptural oeuvre over decades; they come from the artist's personal collection.
To enable living discourse with the art of Max Ernst, the Max Ernst Museum Brühl des LVR frequently complements exhibitions from its collection with pieces on loan from public and private collections around the world. This creates evernew ways to approach the works of Max Ernst.