Artists > Ernst, Jimmy
Jimmy Ernst was born in 1920 in Cologne, Germany, the son of Surrealist painter Max Ernst and Luise Straus, a well-known art historian and journalist. His parents divorced in 1922 and Ernst remained with his mother in Cologne. He visited his father in France in 1930, where he met many artists, including Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dalí, Alberto Giacometti, André Masson, Joan Miró, Man Ray and Yves Tanguy, as well as his father's lover Leonora Carrington. In February 1933, a month after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, the SS searched Luise Straus' apartment. As a noted intellectual and a Jew she was regarded as suspect by the new regime. Ernst was sent to live with his grandfather, Luise's father, while his mother moved to Paris. In June 1938, Jimmy sailed to New York from Le Havre on the liner SS Manhattan.
Ernst became director of The Art of This Century Gallery in 1942. A year later he had his first one-person exhibition. During the late 1940s he became a member of The Irascible Eighteen, a group of abstract painters who protested against the Metropolitan Museum of Art's policy towards American painting of the 1940s, and who posed for a famous picture in 1950. Members of the group included: Willem de Kooning, Adolph Gottlieb, Ad Reinhardt, Hedda Sterne, Richard Pousette-Dart, William Baziotes, Jimmy Ernst, Jackson Pollock, James Brooks, Clyfford Still, Robert Motherwell, Bradley Walker Tomlin, Theodoros Stamos, Barnett Newman, and Mark Rothko. These artists are part of the New York School they were referred to as The Irascibles in an article featured in an issue of Life where the infamous Nina Leen photograph was published.