Jimmy Ernst decided early in life not to become an artist, for fear of being in the shadow of his father, Max Ernst. Suddenly, at the age of twenty, he felt the urge to paint, but not in the surrealist style of his father. He was brought up by his mother, Louise Straus, in Cologne, after his parents were divorced. His ethical grounding was instilled by his mother, who was Jewish and a journalist and led him to understand that his father's emotional cruelty did not amount to much in light of the Nazi's actual threats.
He studied at Cologne-Lindenthal Real-Gymnasium and the Altona Arts and Crafts School where he completed a three year apprenticeship in printing and typo
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