Art: The Inexhaustible Max

Max Ernst will be 82 this year. He is rightly held to be one of the fathers of modern art, having outlasted most of his progeny. Dada and Surrealism, the movements that he helped fertilize, are now ticketed and labeled. Their revolutionary ambitions have been reduced to connoisseurship and slipped into the museum. Most of Ernst's allies in the Surrealist adventure are dead.

Yet Ernst continues, and he eludes the categories. Five years before Pollock, he dripped paint on a canvas from a swinging can. Long after Surrealism died as a movement, he preserved the fresh poetry of the Surrealist dialogue between...

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