Jimmy Ernst  (American/German, 1920-1984) 

Jimmy Ernst (American/German, 1920–1984), born Hans Ulrich Ernst in Cologne, Germany, was the son of Surrealist Max Ernst and a prominent figure in the New York avant-garde in the mid-20th century. He studied printing and typography before immigrating to the United States in 1938 to escape the Nazis. He began working at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, NY, in 1941 and later went on to work for Peggy Guggenheim. In 1943 he opened the Norlyst Gallery with Eleanor Lust, where he began to show his own work, including the painting The Flying Dutchman. He became ever more involved in the New York art community and became a member of The Irascibles group in 1950 with artists such as Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock, who were questioning the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s bias against the burgeoning Abstract movement. During his time in New York, Ernst experimented with the Surrealist method of automatism, and eventually developed his own technique called sifflage, which involved blowing viscous paint over a canvas. He was also becoming increasingly interested in jazz music and improvisation. His method of sifflage, combined with his interest in jazz music, was exemplified in his paintings Blues from Chicago and Riff. Ernst went on to work at various institutions such as the University of Colorado, Denver, CO, starting 1954 as well as the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, TX, and Brooklyn College, NY. In 1980 he started his last major work, the Sea of Grass series, which was influenced by the landscape of his home in Florida. In 1983, he became a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He passed away on February 6, 1984, in New York. His memoir, A Not-So-Still-Life, was published the same year.

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Jimmy Ernst, Plate V


Jimmy Ernst
Plate V

Skot Foreman Fine Art
Jimmy Ernst, Untitled


Jimmy Ernst

Osuna Art
Jimmy Ernst, Hieroglyphics


Jimmy Ernst

Skot Foreman Fine Art
Past auction results (187)  View All
Jimmy Ernst, Untitled


Jimmy Ernst
Untitled, 1970


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Jimmy Ernst, Untitled


Jimmy Ernst
Untitled, 1970


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Jimmy Ernst, Black Disc no. 3


Jimmy Ernst
Black Disc no. 3, 1969
oil on Plexiglass


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1920   Born in Colgne, Germany to Dada Surrealist artist Max Ernst and art historian Louise Straus-Ernst
1933   Ernst family emigrated to Paris for being suspected by the new Nazi regime
1932 - 1936   Student, Lindenthal Real-Gymnasium, Cologne
1938   Emigrated to the United States
1938   Student, School of Arts and Crafts, Altona, Germany
1940   Meets members of the New York avant-garde and European artists in exile. Petitions Emergency Rescue Committee (ERC) to help his parents escape from France.
1941   ERC succeeds in securing his father Max's release from internment. Max arrives in New York with Peggy Guggenheim on July 14.
1942   Guggenheim's Art of This Century Gallery opens, October 20, with Jimmy as director
1944   Unknown to him, his mother is transported to Auschwitz concentration camp on June 30 from Drancy, a detention camp near Paris. She does not survive the war
1945   Allied victory in Europe declared on May 8. Spends part of the summer in Amagansett with his father and other "Surrealists in Exile".
1946   Hattie Brooks Stevens Memorial Award Purchase Prize of the Pasadena Art Institute
1947   Married Edith Dallas Bauman
1950   Joins so-called "IrascibleEighteen" in protesting the anti-abstractionist bias of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
1951   Awarded Juliana Forme Memorial Purchase Award of the Whitney Museum of American Art
1952   Became a U.S.citizen and lived in New York City and East Hampton, NY
1954   Awarded Norman Weit Harris Bronze Medal of the Chicago Art Institute
1957   Recipient Brandeis Creative Arts Award
1961   Awarded John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship
1961   Guggenheim recipient
1982   Awarded an honorary Doctorate by Southampton College of Long Island University
1982   Honorary doctorate, Southampton College
1983   Elected to membership of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, New York
1951 - 1984   Taught at Brooklyn College, become associate professor in 1963
1984   Dies in New York City on February 6
2008   "Une Lignee Electrique: Surrealisme et ses Environs," Galerie 1900-2000, Paris
"Gifted: Recent Additions to the Permanent Collection," Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE
2007   "Shining Spirit: Westheimer Family Collection," Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, OK
2006   "Jimmy Ernst: Five Decades of Paintings and Works on Paper," Spanierman Gallery, LLC. East Hampton, New York. June 29-August 7, 2006. (solo)
2003   Harmon Meeks Gallery. Naples, Florida. (solo)
2002   "Jimmy Ernst: Transcending the Surreal," Springfield Art Museum. Springfield, Missouri. September 14-November 10, 2002. (solo)
The Butler Institute of American Art. Salem, Ohio. September 20-October 25, 2003. (solo)
Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art, Pepperdine University Art Gallery. Malibu, California. January 10-April 4, 2004. (solo)
2001   "Jimmy Ernst: Paintings and Works on Paper: 1942-1983," ACA Galleries. New York, New York. March 1-31, 2001.
1999   "Jimmy Ernst: I Am an American Painter," Sprengel Museum. Hanover, Germany. October 12-December 19, 1999. (solo)
"Max Ernst & Jimmy Ernst - Father & Son," American Contemporary Art Gallery. Munich, Germany. June 10 - August 31, 1999. (solo)
1998   "The Sea of Grass series and beyond," Museum of Fine Arts. St. Petersburg, Florida. September 13-November 8, 1998. (solo)
1997   Grand, Stanley I, curator. "Shadow to Light," Sordoni Art Gallery, Wilkes University. Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. (solo)
1994   "Trails of Silence," Tampa Museum of Art. Tampa, Florida. September 11-November 13, 1994. (solo)
"Jimmy Ernst: Lines Through Time," Philharmonic Center for the Arts. Naples, Florida. March 20-May 2, 1994. (solo)
1991   "Jimmy Ernst," Galerie 1900-2000/Marcel Fleiss. Paris, France. November 8-28, 1990. (solo)
1988   University of Wisconsin. Oshkosh, Wisconsin. (solo)
McAllen International Museum, Texas. (solo)
Community Gallery of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. (solo)
Muscatine Art Center, Iowa. (solo)
"The Forgotten Mural," Emily Lowe Gallery, Hofstra Museum, Hofstra University. Hempstead, New York. September 13-October 30, 1988. (solo)
1987   "Retrospective," Harmon-Meek Gallery. Naples, Florida. February 15-March 7, 1987. (solo)
Butler Institute of American Art. Youngstown, Ohio. September 6-October 11, 1987. (solo)
Century Club. New York, New York. (solo)
Corbine Gallery. Sarasota, Florida. (solo)
1986   Century Club. New York, New York. (solo)
Galerie am Schloss in Ausstellung ger Stadt. Bruhl, Germany. (solo)
1985   "Jimmy Ernst: A survey, 1942-1983," Guild Hall Museum. East Hampton, New York. July 21-September 15, 1985. (solo)
1984   Armstrong Gallery. New York, New York. (solo)
1981   Harmon Gallery. Naples, Florida. (solo)
1976   Riva Yares Gallery. Scottsdale, Arizona. (solo)
1974   Riva Yares Gallery. Scottsdale, Arizona. (solo)
1972   Galerie Lucie Weill. Paris, France. (solo)
1970   Guild Hall Museum. East Hampton, New York. (with John Opper). (solo)
1968   "Recent paintings by Jimmy Ernst," Arts Club of Chicago. Chicago, Illinois. December 17-January 25, 1969. (solo)
1966   Des Moines Art Center. Des Moines, Iowa. (solo)
1965   Amerika Haus. Berlin, Germany. (solo)
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (solo)
Norton Gallery. West Palm Beach, Florida. (solo)
1964   Stadtisches Kunsthaus. Bielefeld, Germany. (solo)
1963   Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, Michigan. December 10-January 5, 1964. (solo)
Kolnischer Kunstverein. Cologne, Germany. (solo)
1962   Obelisk Gallery. Washington, D.C.. (solo)
1957   "Art on the Campus," Rabb Graduate Center, Brandeis University. Waltham, Massachusetts. (solo)
1956   Museum of Fine Arts. Houston, Texas.(solo)
1955   Silverman Guild of Artists. Norwalk, Connecticut. (solo)
Philadelphia Art Alliance. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (solo)
1954   Walker Art Center. Minneapolis, Minnesota. (solo)
1953   Obelisk Gallery. Washington, D.C.. (solo)
1951   Grace Borgenicht Gallery. New York, New York. 1951-1972. (solo)
1950   Robert Carlen Gallery. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.(solo)
1948   Laurel Gallery. New York, New York. 1948-1950.(solo)
1946   "Black Music," Norlyst Gallery. New York, New York. (solo)
1944   Norlyst Gallery. New York, New York. 1944-1945. (solo)
1943 - 1934   First one-man show "Reflections of the Inner Eye," Norlyst Gallery. New York, New York.