Andre Breton: Surrealism and Painting


Originally published in 1928, Surrealism and Painting is the most important statement ever written on surrealist art, and the only book on the subject composed by the movement's founder and prime theorist. It contains Breton's seminal treatise on the origins and foundations of artistic surrealism, with his trenchant assessments of its precursors and practitioners, and his call for the plastic arts to "refer to a purely internal model." Also included are essays - on Picasso, Duchamp, Dali, Ernst, Masson, Miro, and...
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Originally published in 1928, Surrealism and Painting is the most important statement ever written on surrealist art, and the only book on the subject composed by the movement's founder and prime theorist. It contains Breton's seminal treatise on the origins and foundations of artistic surrealism, with his trenchant assessments of its precursors and practitioners, and his call for the plastic arts to "refer to a purely internal model." Also included are essays - on Picasso, Duchamp, Dali, Ernst, Masson, Miro, and many others, as well as pieces on Gaulish art, outsider art, and the folk arts of Haiti and Oceania. But what makes this book most compelling is Breton's mix of rigorous erudition and visceral passion, his sense of adventure, and his discoveries of many of Modernism's most prominent figures early in their careers. Long unavailable in English, Surrealism and Painting remains one of the masterworks of twentieth-century art criticism.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780878466283
  • Publisher: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 796,954
  • Product dimensions: 8.37 (w) x 10.57 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

Salvador Dali was born in 1904 in Figueres, Spain. In his teens, he exhibited his work at home and in the town's municipal theater before leaving for Madrid's Academy of Arts. In his last year there, he was expelled for announcing that none of the faculty was competent to judge his work. After moving to Paris, he befriended Pablo Picasso and Andre Breton, moved in with the woman who would become his wife of nearly 50 years (though she was Paul Eluard's wife when he met her) and began work on the paintings for which became best known, such as "The Persistence of Memory", which he described as "hand-painted dream photographs." Over the course of his career, he also made sculpture, designed jewelry, illustrated books and collaborated with filmmakers such as Bunuel and Hitchcock. The most famous of all the Surrealists, he died in Figueres in 1989.

Rene Magritte was born RenE FranAois-Ghislain Magritte in 1898 in Belgium. In March of 1912, Magritte's mother killed herself by jumping into the river Sambre. The next year, the young artist met his future wife, Georgette Berger; the year after that he enrolled as a pupil at the Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels. In the early 1920s, Magritte served in the military, married Georgette, and worked as a graphic artist, primarily drawing motifs for wallpaper. De Chirico provided a strong early influence. Magritte's first painting, a portrait of singer Evelyne BrElia, was sold in 1923, and his first surrealist work, Le Jockey Perdu, was painted in 1926. His first exhibition was held in 1927; soon thereafter, he and Georgette moved near Paris and began to meet other surrealists like MirU, Eluard and Arp. His relationships with the surrealists onlydeepened over the following years: Magritte published his work in various surrealist journals, vacationed with the DalIs, and exhibited with Edward James. At different points during his mature career, he dramatically changed his painting style, only to return to his original surrealist ways. Magritte died in 1967.

Yves Tanguy was born in Paris in 1900 and started painting in 1923, inspired by the work of Giorgio de Chirico. In 1925 Tanguy met AndrE Breton, and was soon invited to join the Paris Surrealists. From then until the late 1930s, Tanguy participated in numerous Surrealist exhibitions and was the subject of several solo shows, including a show in the US in 1934. In 1939 he moved to New York, and eventually became an American citizen. He died in Waterbury, Connecticut in 1955, and a year later was the subject of a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Andre Breton was born in Normandy in 1896, studied psychiatry, and, as a young man during World War I, worked in a mental ward. By 1924 he had begun to think of the mind's dark corners as a source for art, as described in his Surrealist Manifesto, and had started to gather a community of artists, dealers and fellow-travelers around him. He spent several years in the Communist party in the 1920s and 30s, and then left France in dissatisfaction with its Vichy regime in the early 40s. He was back by the middle of the decade however, and lived and worked in Paris as a novelist, artist and provocateur until his death in 1966.

Mark Polizzotti is author of Revolution of the Mind: The Life of AndrE Breton (1995).

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Andre Breton and Painting xvii
I Surrealism and Painting (1928) 1
II Artistic Genesis and Perspective of Surrealism (1941) 49
III Fragments (1933-1961) 83
Marcel Duchamp
Lighthouse of The Bride (1934) 85
Pablo Picasso
Picasso in his element (1933) 101
Reply to an inquiry (1955) 115
80 carats ... with a single flaw (1961) 116
Victor Brauner
White rose bunch (1934) 121
Entre chien et loup ... (14 July 1946) 123
Oscar Dominguez
Concerning a decalcomania without preconceived object (decalcomania of desire) (1936) 128
Salvador Dali
The Dali 'case' (1936) 130
Wolfgang Paalen
No longer the diamond in the hat ... (1938) 136
A man at the junction of two highways (1950) 138
Frida Kahlo De Rivera (1938) 141
The Most Recent Tendencies in Surrealist Painting (1939) 145
Andre Masson
The magical eloquence of Andre Masson (1939) 151
Max Ernst
The legendary life of Max Ernst preceded by a brief discussion of the need for a new myth (1942) 155
Graphic works (1950) 166
Wifredo Lam
The long nostalgia of poets ... (1941) 169
At night in Haiti ... (1946) 172
Yves Tanguy
Prologue (1938) 173
What Tanguy veils and reveals (1942) 176
The pearl is marred, in my eyes ... (1944) 183
Three years ago ... (1947) 189
Enrico Donati (1944) 195
Arshile Gorky (1945) 199
Jacques Herold (1947) 202
Introduction to the work of Toyen (1953) 207
'The Clairvoyante' (1958) 215
Edgar Jene (1948) 217
Private conversation (1949) 218
Francis Picabia
Binoculars for blindfolded eyes (1950) 221
Letter (1952) 224
Gerome Kamrowski (1950) 226
Rufino Tamayo (1950) 230
My Friends Seigle (1951) 235
Simon Hantai (1953) 237
Judit Reigl (1954) 238
Max Walter Svanberg
The viking's concubine (1955) 239
I count among the great moments ... (1961) 242
Pierre Molinier (1956) 245
Endre Rozsda (1957) 249
Yahne Le Toumelin (1957) 251
Yves Laloy (1958) 254
Joan Miro
'Constellations' (1958) 257
Le Marechal (1960) 265
Rene Magritte (1961) 269
IV Environs
Crisis of the Object (1936) 275
Surrealist Exhibition of Objects (1936) 282
The Object-Poem (1942) 284
Kandinsky (1938) 286
The Exquisite Corpse, Its Exaltation (1948) 288
Autodidacts Called 'Naives' (1942) 291
Demonchy (1949) 295
Miguel G. Vivancos (1950) 296
Joseph Crepin (1954) 298
Hector Hyppolite (1947) 308
The Art of the Insane: Freedom to Roam Abroad (1948) 313
Maria (1947) 318
Agustin Cardenas (1959) 323
The Triumph of Gaulish Art (1954) 324
The Presence of the Gauls (1955) 333
October Lesson (1954) 337
Duvillier's Drag-Net (1955) 339
The Sword in the Clouds, Degottex (1955) 341
Marcelle Loubchansky (1956) 344
Away with Miserabilism! (1956) 347
125 Soaring Achievements at the Musee D'art Moderne (1952) 349
Aloys Zotl (1956) 354
Concerning Symbolism (1958) 357
Gustave Moreau (1961) 363
Henri Rousseau a Sculptor? (1961) 367
Introduction to the International Surrealist Exhibition (1959) 377
The Grand Ceremonial Restored to Us at Last by Jean Benoit (1962) 386
Mimi Parent (1960) 391
V Further Affluences and Approaches (1963-1965)
Enrico Baj (1963) 395
Rene Magritte's Breadth of Vision (1964) 401
Camacho Faces the Jungle (1964) 404
'This is the price' (1964) 407
Ugo Sterpini and Fabio De Sanctis (1964) 410
Konrad Klapheck (1965) 411
Index 413
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