SSurrealism or surrealist art - A twentieth century avant-garde art movement that originated in the nihilistic ideas of the Dadaist and French literary figures, especially those of its founder, French writer André Breton (1896-1966). At first a Dadaist, he wrote three manifestos about Surrealism — in 1924, 1930, and 1934, and opened a studio for "surrealist research."

Influenced by the theories of the pioneer of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud (German, 1856-1939), the images found in surrealist works are as confusing and startling as those of dreams. Surrealist works can have a realistic, though irrational style, precisely describing dreamlike fantasies, as in the works of René Magritte (Belgian, 1898-1967), Salvador Dalí (Spanish, 1904-1988), Yves Tanguy (French, 1900-1955), and Alfred Pellan (Canadian, 1906-1988). These artists were partly inspired by Symbolism, and partly the Metaphysical Painting of Giorgio de Chirico (Italian, 1888-1978). Or, it could have a more abstract style, as in the works of Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893-1983), Max Ernst (German, 1891-1976), and André Masson (French, 1896-1987), who invented spontaneous techniques, modeled upon the psychotherapeutic procedure of "free association" as a means to eliminate conscious control in order to express the workings of the unconscious mind, such as exquisite corpse.

(pr. se-REE-el-izm)

Examples:

Listed chronologically by artist's birth year

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see thumbnail to rightJoseph Stella (American, 1877-1946), Flowers, Italy, 1931, oil on canvas, Phoenix Art Museum, AZ. Joseph Stella is most known for his Futurist paintings, but he did't limit himself to just one kind of expression. Stella produced realist and abstract works, along with a number as surreal as this composition of flowers.

 

 

Marc Chagall (French, born Belarus, 1887-1985; in France 1910-14, 1923-41; U.S.A. 1941-48; France 1948-85), The Poet with the Birds, 1911, oil on canvas, 28 1/2 x 39 inches, Minneapolis Institute of Arts. See Jewish art.

 

 

Marc Chagall, Paris Through the Window, 1913, oil on canvas, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY.

 

 

Marc Chagall, Birthday (L'Anniversaire), 1915, oil on cardboard, 31 3/4 x 39 1/4 inches (80.6 x 99.7 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY.

 

 

Marc Chagall, Over Vitebsk (Au dessus de Vitebsk), 1915-20 (after a painting of 1914), oil on canvas, 26 3/8 x 36 1/2 inches (67 x 92.7 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY.

 

Marc Chagall, Young Girl in Pursuit, c. 1927-28, oil on composition board, 25 3/4 x 19 3/4 inches (65.4 x 50.2cm), Santa Barbara Museum of Art, CA.

 

 

Man Ray (American, 1890-1976), Pisces, 1938, oil on canvas, 60.0 x 73.0 cm, Tate Gallery, London.

 

 

Max Ernst (German, 1891-1976), Capricorn, 1948 / 1964, bronze, 245 x 207 x 157 cm, Georges Pompidou Center, Paris.

 

 

Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893-1983), Painting, 1927, oil on canvas, 116 x 89 cm, Georges Pompidou Center, Paris. See automatism.

 

 

Joan Miró, Painting, 1933, oil on canvas, 146 x 114 cm, Georges Pompidou Center, Paris.

 

 

Joan Miró, L'objet du couchant (Sleeping Object), summer 1935-1936, painted carob trunk, metal spring, gas burner, chain, manila and string, 68 x 44 x 26 cm, Georges Pompidou Center, Paris.

 

 

Joan Miró, Head of a Woman, 1938, oil on canvas, 18 x 21 5/8 inches, Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

 

 

Joan Miró, Women and Bird in the Moonlight, 1949, oil on canvas, 81.3 x 66.0 cm, Tate Gallery, London.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftAndré Masson (French, 1896-1987), Ibdes in Aragon, 1935, oil on canvas, 60.0 x 92.4 cm, Tate Gallery, London.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightAndré Masson, The Earth, 1939, sand and oil on panel, 43 x 53 cm, Georges Pompidou Center, Paris.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftAndré Masson, The Red Lands and the Montagne Sainte Victoire, 1948, oil on canvas, 95.9 x 76.5 cm, Tate Gallery, London.

 

 

see thumbnail to rightAndré Masson, Riez, 1953, oil on canvas, 65.0 x 81.0 cm, Tate Gallery, London.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftAndré Masson, Kitchen-maids, 1961, oil on canvas, 50.2 x 61.0 cm, Tate Gallery, London.

 

 

see thumbnail to rightPaul Delvaux (Belgian, 1898-1994), Femme au Miroir, 1945, oil on Masonite, 35 3/4 x 31 inches, Minneapolis Institute of Arts. See mirror.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftM.C. (Maurits Cornelis) Escher (Dutch, 1898-1972), Drawing Hands, 1948, lithograph. See optical illusion and self-portrait.

 

 

René Magritte (Belgian, 1898-1967), Man with a Newspaper, 1928, oil on canvas, 115.6 x 81.3 cm, Tate Gallery, London.

 

 

René Magritte, The Reckless Sleeper, 1928, oil on canvas, 116.0 x 81.0 x 2.0 cm, Tate Gallery, London.

 

 

René Magritte, The Treachery [or Treason] of Images, 1928-9, oil on canvas, 23 1/4 x 31 1/2 inches, private collection, NY. "Ceci n'est pas une pipe," means "This is not a pipe." See incongruity.

 

 

René Magritte, The Annunciation, 1930, oil on canvas, 113.7 x 145.9 cm, Tate Gallery, London.

 

 

René Magritte, The Rape, 1934, oil on canvas, 28 1/2 x 21 inches, collection George Melly, London.

 

 

René Magritte, The Future of Statues, 1937, painted plaster relief, 33.0 x 16.5 x 20.3 cm, Tate Gallery, London.

 

 

René Magritte, The Spirit of Geometry, 1937, gouache on paper, 37.5 x 29.2 cm, Tate Gallery, London.

 

 

René Magritte, The Age of Enlightenment, oil on canvas.

 

 

René Magritte, Euclidean Promenades, 1955, oil on canvas, 64 x 51 1/2 inches, Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

 

 

René Magritte, La clef de verre, 1959, Menil Collection.

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftHerbert Bayer (Austrian, 1900-1985, worked in USA), Self-Portrait in Mirror, 1932, gelatin-silver print, 13 7/16 x 9 3/4 inches (34.13 x 24.77 cm). See mirror and self-portrait.

 

see thumbnail to rightYves Tanguy (French-American, 1900-1955), Reply to Red, 1943, oil on canvas, Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftYves Tanguy, Through Birds, Through Fire and Not Through Glass, 1943, oil on canvas, 40 x W.35 inches, Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

 

 

Alberto Giacometti (Swiss, 1901-1966), The Nose, 1947, plaster on metal, suspended by synthetic string within a metal structure, 81.5 x 66 x 36.7 cm, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. See angst and existentialism.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightWifredo Lam (Cuban, 1902-1982), The Jungle, 1943, gouache on paper, mounted on canvas, 7 feet 10 1/4 inches x 7 feet 6 1/2 inches (239.4 x 229.9 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY. Lam's fantastical moonlit scene portrays masked figures amid stalks of bamboo and sugarcane. Although he was an integral member of the surrealist movement, Lam's multiperspectival renderings of these figures mirrors his use of Cubist vocabulary.

 

 

Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972), Suzy's Sun (for Judy Tyler), 1957, mixed-media shadow box construction, 10 3/4 x 15 x 4 inches (27.3 x 38.1 x 10.2 cm), North Carolina Art Museum, Raleigh. See sculpture.

 

 

Salvador Dalí (Spanish, 1904-1989; active in Paris and New York), Lugubrious Game, 1929, oil on panel, 16 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches, private collection, Paris.

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftSalvador Dalí, The Persistence of Memory, 1931, oil on canvas, 9 1/2 x 13 inches, Museum of Modern Art, NY. See distortion.

 

 

Salvador Dalí, Remorse or Sphinx Embedded in the Sand, 1931, oil on canvas.

 

 

Salvador Dalí, Retrospective Bust of a Woman (Buste de femme rétrospectif), 1933, some elements reconstructed 1970, painted porcelain, bread, corn, feathers, paint on paper, 29 x 27 1/4 x 12 5/8 inches (73.9 x 69.2 x 32 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY. See bust.

 

 

Salvador Dalí, Untitled (Petit Theâtre), 1934, wood and glass, painted, 12 3/4 x 16 3/4 x 12 1/4 inches (32.3 x 42.5 x 31.1 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY.

 

 

Salvador Dalí, Autumnal Cannibalism, 1936, oil on canvas, 65.1 x 65.1 cm, Tate Gallery, London.

 

 

Salvador Dalí, Lobster Telephone, 1936, plastic, painted plaster and mixed media, 17.8 x 33.0 x 17.8 cm, Tate Gallery, London. This sculpture is a classic example of the Surrealist practice of juxtaposing otherwise unrelated everyday items. The Surrealists valued the mysterious and provocative effect of such incongruities. Dalí believed that his objects expressed the secret desires of the unconscious, and that lobsters and telephones reveal the prominence of the sexuality.

 

 

Salvador Dalí, Metamorphosis of Narcissus, 1937, oil on canvas, 51.1 x 78.1 cm, Tate Gallery, London.

 

 

Salvador Dalí, Last Supper, 1955, National Gallery, Washington, DC. See cenacle.

 

 

Salvador Dalí, Portrait of Juan de Pareja, the Assistant to Valezquez, 1960, oil on canvas, 29 1/4 x 34 3/4 inches, Minneapolis Institute of Arts. See Spanish art and Baroque.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftPeter Blume (American, born Russia, 1906-1992), South of Scranton, 1931, oil on canvas, 56 x 66 inches (142.2 x 167 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

Alfred Pellan (Canadian, 1906-1988), On the Beach, 1945, oil on canvas, 207.7 x 167.6 cm, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.

 

 

"Balthus" Count Balthasar Klossowski de Rola (French, 1908-), Two Young Girls, 1949, oil on board, 27 1/2 x 29 1/2 inches (69.9 x 74.9 cm), Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightLouise Bourgeois (American, born France, 1911-), Eyes, 1982, marble, 74 3/4 x 54 x 45 3/4 inches (189.9 x 137.2 x 116.2 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

"Matta" Roberto Matta Echaurren (Chilean, 1912-2002), Let's Phosphoresce by Intellection #1, c. 1950, oil on canvas, 58 x 69 5/8 inches (148.6 x 179.1 cm), Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftMeret Oppenheim (Swiss, born Berlin, 1913-1985), Red Head, Blue Body, 1936, oil on canvas, 31 5/8 x 31 5/8 inches (80.2 x 80.3 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY. See Swiss art.

 

 

 

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Also see aleatory and aleatoric, anomaly, automatism, coulage, cryptic, deformalism, expressionism, fanciful, Fluxus, fumage, grotesque, isms and -ism, oneiric, Metaphysical Painting, parsemage, Symbolism, trencadis, and ugly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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