Max Ernst was born in Germany and became a naturalized American citizen in 1948. He was a painter, sculptor, graphic artist, and poet. He became a pioneer of Dada and Surrealism. A major art critic once said “Max Ernst is to Dada and Surrealism what Picasso is to 20th century art as a whole.”
Ernst was drawn to themes of fantasy and dream imagery. He made work depicting fantastic, often nightmarish, images that made reference to anxieties originating in childhood. He demonstrated a profound interest in Freudian psychoanalysis, which is apparent in his exploration of Automatism. Much of the artist’s work defied societal norms, Christian morality, and the aesthetic standards of Western academic art. His stint in the German army in WWI traumatized him, making him highly critical of western culture. This led to his vision of the modern world as irrational – which became the basis of his artwork.
Creatures of the Sea is from a publication, Festin, with text by Pierre Hebey, accompanied by 12 original lithographs by Ernst, each signed by the artist. They were originally contained in a cloth covered box in an edition of 79, published by Pierre Chave, in Vence, France in 1974.