Featuring footage never before available to the public, including rare archival interviews shot by close friend Werner Spies, this unique retrospective explores the works of Surrealist Max Ernst, one of the 20th century's most important artists. Virtually all Ernst's works are shown, and he speaks, in English, about the forces that shaped his art. The program focuses especially on Ernst's experience of the Arizona desert and the culture of the Hopi Indians, which led to a series of paintings that express his search for the myths of his time.
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Completed in 1991 by the German producer Peter Schamoni, this 90-minute program includes remarkable footage of the German-born artist Max Ernst, who moved to the United States during World War II and later became an American citizen (throughout, the artist speaks in English, French, and German). In this magnificent production, great effort was made to obtain archival material of Max Ernst's life story as well as historical footage of the times he lived in. A soldier in World War I, Ernst was violently opposed to war, suffering periods of internment in concentration camps, which strongly reinforced his life-long desire for liberty. His marriage to Peggy Guggenheim, though short-lived, opened up the New York art world to him. During his prolific career, he also made collages and painted murals in the home of his friend Paul Edward, the French poet. His surrealist artwork was later influenced by his 12 years of living in Sedona, Arizona. When he would come to a "dead end with painting," he began making sculptures, which was for him "like taking a vacation." As a documentary about art, this program is superb, both for the quality of the cinematography and the visual metaphors that relate landscape and political events to the artist's paintings. --Anne Barclay Morgan
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