Max Ernst, The Garden of France, 1962, oil on canvas, 44 7/8 x 66 1/8". © 2004 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris.

New York

Max Ernst

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
April 7–July 10, 2005

Curated by Werner Spies and Sabine Rewald

Among the tales told of Max Ernst's stay in New York during World War II is that here he began to palce canvases on the ground, allowing paint to drip from a can that swung on a string above the canvas's surface. Accurate or not—you guess the implications—the story is a tribute to a towering figure whose path through dada and Surrealism abounds with technical innovation, from collage and frottage to grattage and decalcomania. Some 180 works made between 1913 and 1973 by this purveyor of the primal scene and shattered psyche (themes for both yesterday's tragedies and today's) are included in the late artist's return to Gotham—his first US retrospective in thirty years and one whose significance, with Ernst scholar Werner Spies involved, cannot be underestimated.