Europe After the Rain (1940-42) by Max Ernst

Europe After the Rain - Max Ernst - c.1941

Artwork Information

TitleEurope After the Rain
ArtistMax Ernst
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions54 x 146 cm
Art MovementSurrealism
Current LocationWadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT, US
Location Created United States
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About Europe After the Rain

Max Ernst’s Europe After the Rain II is a surrealist masterpiece created in 1940-42. The painting reflects on the devastation of World War II on Europe, with Ernst using techniques such as “grattage” and “frottage” to enhance the surreal quality of the landscape. The painting culminates in a depiction of Dorothea Tanning, Ernst’s lover and muse.

Interestingly, Europe After the Rain I was created by Ernst in 1933 as a response to rising nationalism and the threat of war. This work had been condemned by the Nazis as degenerate, and Ernst himself was later interned in a prison camp. However, Europe After the Rain II takes this theme further by exploring more deeply the destruction caused by World War II across Europe.

Europe After the Rain II is considered to be one of Ernst’s most powerful works. Its depiction of a surreal landscape suggests not just physical destruction but also emotional trauma following war. This makes it an unparalleled artistic interpretation of World War II and its aftermath that continues to captivate audiences today.

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