Max Ernst was born on April 2, 1891 in a small Rhineland town called Bruhl, outside Cologne. His father, a fiercely authoritarian Roman Catholic, was an amateur painter who taught at a school for deaf-mutes. From earliest childhood, Ernst seems to have acquired haunting visual images which became factors in his work throughout his life. He was a nervous impressionable boy, in constant friction with authority. During an illness, Ernst stared at the wood flooring and ended up discovering a new painting technique that he called "frottage." He took paper and pencil, laid them over the textured surface and scribbled away. Allied to this was Ernst's use of paint sponged and knifed on a canvas, with the images it suggest
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