Surrealism Is Born (Great Events from History II: Arts and Culture Series)
Article abstract: After the publication of André Breton’s Manifesto of Surrealism, avant-garde artists used the new term “surrealism” to define their artistic movement.
Summary of Event
When the young French writer and critic André Breton published his first Manifeste du surréalisme (1924; Manifesto of Surrealism, 1969) in October, 1924, he did not merely provide a friendly group of writers and artists with a new theory for their new art. He also gave this art its name, and thus fostered the birth of Surrealism. The painters Max Ernst, André Masson, and Joan Miró readily accepted the theories outlined in Breton’s manifesto, and so did many of Breton’s writer-friends, among whom Louis Aragon, Paul Éluard, and Philippe Soupault were very influential.
As Breton’s manifesto defined it, Surrealism sought to break down the boundary between dream and reality and to unite, in one picture or one text, the unconscious and the conscious. “Surrealism is based on the belief in the superior reality of certain forms of associations hitherto neglected, in the omnipotence of dream, in the disinterested play of thought,” Breton explained. To capture this new “surreality,” Breton and his friends strongly recommended “automatic,” instead of premeditated, painting and writing. Surrealist theory thus emphasized a revolution in both the form and content of art.
(The entire section is 2359 words.)
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