Officially consecrated in Paris in 1924 with the publication of the Manifesto of Surrealism by the poet and critic André Breton (1896–1966), Surrealism became an international intellectual and political movement.
Surrealism officially began with Dadaist writer André Breton's 1924 Surrealist manifesto, but the movement formed as early as 1917, inspired by the paintings of Giorgio de Chirico, who captured street locations with a hallucinatory quality.
The History of Surrealism
The Surrealist art movement began in the 1920s, when visual artists like Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, Man Ray, Joan Miró, and Yves Tanguy adopted automatism, a literary technique that relied entirely on the subconscious for creativity.
Founded by the poet André Breton in Paris in 1924, Surrealism was an artistic and literary movement. It proposed that the Enlightenment—the influential 17th- and 18th-century intellectual movement that championed reason and individualism—had suppressed the superior qualities of the irrational, unconscious mind.
However, the Surrealist movement was not officially established until after October 1924, when the Surrealist Manifesto published by French poet and critic André Breton succeeded in claiming the term for his group over a rival faction led by Yvan Goll, who had published his own surrealist manifesto two weeks prior.
But it was André Breton, leader of a new grouping of poets and artists in Paris, who, in his Surrealist Manifesto (1924), defined surrealism as: pure psychic automatism, by which one proposes to express, either verbally, in writing, or by any other manner, the real functioning of thought.
1. Salvador Dali, Dream caused by the flight of a bee around a pomegranate a second before awakening, 1944. Although Salvador Dali had a tumultuous relationship with the Surrealist group, the Spanish painter remains one of the most famous Surrealist artists today.
The advent of surrealism is attributed to the fall of Dadaism. The latter was a movement where artists expressed their disgust with traditional approaches of art and life as a whole. Art from Dadaism often had a sense of violence and attitude of protest. Surrealism mainly started in Europe mainly in Paris.
Breton published Surrealism and Painting in 1928 which summarized the movement to that point, though he continued to update the work until the 1960s. 1925 - La Peinture Surrealiste - The first ever Surrealist exhibition at Gallerie Pierre in Paris.
Surrealism originated in the late 1910s and early '20s as a literary movement that experimented with a new mode of expression called automatic writing, or automatism, which sought to release the unbridled imagination of the subconscious.
Surrealism outside Europe
As an interwar movement beginning in Paris in the 1920s, Surrealism responded to a post-World War I period that saw the slow reconstruction of major French cities, the height of the French colonial empire abroad, and the rise of fascism across Europe.
Born in 1935 in Brooklyn, Robert Cottingham is known for his paintings and prints of urban American landscapes, particularly building facades, neon signs, movie marquees, and shop fronts. After serving in the U.S. Army from 1955 through 1958, he earned a BFA at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, in 1963.
Breton's hatred of war led him to an intense investigation of Sigmund Freud's psychotherapeutic practices. He developed a passion for psychiatric art that tapped into the subconscious, which informed his interest in Dada, and later, Surrealism.
René Magritte is one of the most well-known and famous surrealist painters of all time. In his work, the Belgian painter displays common objects in an unusual context and plays with elements of surprise. His artwork is thought-provoking, full of wit and irony.
Salvador Dali is one of the most famous surrealist painters in history, and for good reason. His painting The Persistence of Memory is one of the most iconic and recognizable pieces of art in the world.
The Surrealists derived much inspiration from psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud's theories on dreams and the workings of the subconscious mind.
The Post-Surrealists, who also included Philip Guston, Reuben Kadish, Harold Lehman, and Knud Merrild, formed the only organized Surrealist group in the United States. They exhibited together for about six years and published several theoretical texts spelling out their cerebral conception of art.
Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter best known for her uncompromising and brilliantly colored self-portraits that deal with such themes as identity, the human body, and death. Although she denied the connection, she is often identified as a Surrealist.
Max Ernst: Pioneer of Surrealist Art.
Surrealism was an artistic, intellectual, and literary movement led by poet André Breton from 1924 through World War II. The Surrealists sought to overthrow the oppressive rules of modern society by demolishing its backbone of rational thought.
The writer Andre Breton (1896-1966), nicknamed "the Pope of Surrealism", was the movement's founder and chief theorist. He introduced and defined the new style in his initial 1924 manifesto (Manifeste du Surrealisme) and later in his painting bulletin (Surrealisme et la Peinture).
Influenced by Sigmund Freud's theory of the unconscious, the manifesto defined Surrealism as “psychic automatism”, a process that encouraged a freeing of the mind from rational and utilitarian values and constraints as well as moral and aesthetic judgement.