New York

Max Ernst

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

This first major museum show of Max Ernst to take place in New York in thirty years stakes a grand claim for his importance to twentieth-century art, and to the development of modern painting in particular. “Only Picasso,” announces a wall text at the exhibition’s entrance, “played as decisive a role in the invention of modern techniques and styles.” Ernst’s technical inventions in the 175 works on view include the “overpainting” of the Dada pictures that are commonly called collages, as well as the semiautomatist frottage, grattage, decalcomania, and “oscillation” processes of his Surrealist works. Emphasizing the role that technical innovation plays throughout the artist’s oeuvre, the show gave prominent placement in its first gallery to Ernst’s seminal 1921 oil-on-canvas Celebes, which displays the artist’s transposition of certain effects of collage into easel painting—a technique

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