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European Artists

The Paris surrealist group of artists begun gathering from the early twenties of the 20th century. The core of the group consisted of André Breton, Paul Éluard, Benjamin Peret, Louis Aragon, Philippe Soupault, Robert Desnos, and they are later joined by Max Ernst, Man Ray, Jacques Baron, René Crevel, Limbour Georges, Jacques Rigaut, Roger Vitrac, Marcel Duchamp and others.

Pariska nadrealistička grupa

Surrealist group, Paris 1924: Baron, Queneau, Breton, Boiffard, de Chirico, Vitrac, Eluard, Soupault, Desnos, Aragon. Donji red: Naville, Simone Collinet-Breton, Morise, Marie-Louise Soupault.


Surrealism was officially founded in 1924, which is the year when André Breton published his Manifesto of Surrealism. However, the core of the Surrealist movement was in formation years before that. Already in 1919 the magazine Littérature was released, edited by André Breton (1896-1966), Louis Aragon (1897-1982), and Philippe Soupault (1897-1990), some time later joined by Paul Éluard (1895-1952).

 When in 1922 Breton published a critical article on Dada and left the Dada movement, he was followed by those who shared the same views―Benjamin Péret (1899-1959), Robert Desnos (1900-1945), René Crevel (1900-1935), and others. Together they organised meetings during which the participants would engage in automatic speech and experiments with induced hypnotic sleep, aspiring to devise a medium for the exploration of the subconscious.         

 After the publication of the Manifesto of Surrealism, Surrealism became a movement with a foundational text and a distinct artistic doctrine. Many artists joined the Surrealists and actively participated in the modelling of the Surrealist poetics. Numerous photographs remain as testimonials to the collaboration of all these artists.  

 At the Surrealist exhibition held in 1925 in Paris, their works presented the artists such as Giorgio De Chirico (1888–1978), Hans Arp (1886-1966), Max Ernst (1891–1976), Paul Klee, Man Ray (1890–1976), André Masson (1896-1987), Joan Miró (1893–1983), Pablo Picasso (1881–1973), Pierre Roy (1880–1950). The Surrealist movement was soon joined by Yves Tanguy (1900–1955), and also René Magritte (1898–1967) when he moved to Paris from Brussels in 1927. Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) gives his allegiance to the Surrealist group in 1929, when he moved from Spain to Paris, and executed his first Surrealist paintings. Dalí endorsed the Surrealist theory of automatism, but refashioned it into a method which he termed as “paranoia-critical activity”. The German artist Hans Bellmer (1902-1975) enters the Surrealism in 1934, and shortly afterwards also the Belgian Paul Delvaux (1897-1994). Through Surrealism, in the early 1930s, Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) introduced innovations into the domain of sculptural forms. Although never formally a member, Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) nevertheless occasionally took part in the group’s activity.           

In the ensuing years, across the Europe the Surrealist groups are formed working in the close collaboration with the Paris group. 

 The organised Surrealist movement in Europe was disbanded on the eve of WWII. Breton, Dalí, Ernst, Masson, and others, just as the Chilean artist Matta (1911-2002), who himself became Surrealist in 1937, left Europe, and went to New York, where the movement is re-established. In 1940, Breton organises the fourth International Exhibition of Surrealism, including among others the Mexican artists Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) and Diego Rivera (1886-1957), even though they did not join the movement formally.  

 The model represented by the Surrealist artists proved to be a decisive influence in the formation of the subsequent artistic movements, such as Abstract Expressionism, Neo-Dada, and Pop Art