German painter, sculptor, and commercial designer, Ernst was one of the major contributors to the theory and practice of Surrealism. His work challenged and broke with what he considered the repressive aspects of European culture, particularly the Christian doctrine and the aesthetic and moral codes of Western academic art. Ernst had no formal education in the arts, but he did take several courses at Bonn University between 1909 and 1912. His early work was influenced by van Gogh, Campendonck, Macke, Robert Delaunay and the Italian Futurists. During the years he served in the German army (1914-18), he continued painting, following a semi-cubist and semi abstract path. In 1918, in Cologne, he founded a Dadaist group with Hans Arp and, in 1922, he settled in Paris co-founding André Breton's Surrealist group. He introduced and developed new art techniques like frottage, grattage and decalcomanie, which stimulated the fortuitous in the creative process. In the early 30s, he followed the ideas of the Surrealist Group, in particular the work of Breton and Dali. After 1933, the violent, threatening character of his work became more prominent, mainly as a reaction against the social and political climate of the time. During the 30s, Ernst's international reputation grew steadily and, in 1948, he became an American citizen when he settled in the United States, where he married Peggy Guggenheim. In 1953 he returned to Europe and, in 1958, acquired French citizenship. In 1954, he received the first prize at the Venice Biennale and, in 1975, major retrospective exhibitions of his work were held in New York and Paris.