The Max Ernst Museum Brühl des LVR is the only museum dedicated to the life and work of the seminal artist, image poet, and cosmopolitan Max Ernst (1891–1976). 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.
Numerous paintings, drawings, frottages, and collages let visitors immerse themselves in the fantastic worlds of Max Ernst’s images and demonstrate his boundless inventiveness. Visitors can also look forward to seeing a unique collection of more than 70 bronze castings and sculptures on permanent loan from Kreissparkasse Köln. Decades of sculptural work by Max Ernst are represented by pieces from his own collection, including major works such as The King playing with the Queen or the Teaching staff for a school of murderers (Corps enseignant pour une école de tueurs). The former ballroom of the old palace that houses the museum is home to what is probably his most famous sculptural work: Capricorn, on loan from the collection of Deutsche Bank. Another permanent loan from Kreissparkasse Köln are the 36 Dpaintings.These works, which form a major part of the museum’s permanent collection, were originally painted as gifts to the artist’s fourth wife, Dorothea Tanning – a fellow artist who was a part of his life for more than three decades.
The collection also includes works owned by the Max Ernst Foundation, which includes almost the entire lithographic works of Max Ernst as well as a unique collection of more than 700 photographic portraits and documents by outstanding photographers such as Man Ray, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Lee Miller. The Schneppenheim Foundation for the Max Ernst Museum and the Peter Schamoni Collection have also made contributions to the museum.
Several works were gifted to the museum as well, including the paintings Arizona desert after rain (from Waldemar Croon) and Nocturne IV (from the Max Ernst Society), a portrait of a boy (from the Oberle family estate), as well as the oil painting The Twentieth Century (from Peter Schneppenheim). An extensive collection of drawings and sketches from Max Ernst’s time as a student in Bonn were donated by Werner and Monique Spies.
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.