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André Breton Artworks

French Theoretician and Writer

André Breton Photo
Born: February 19, 1896
Normandy, France
Died: September 28, 1966
Paris, France
Artworks

Progression of Art

Date Unknown
Egg in the church or The Snake (Date Unknown)

Egg in the church or The Snake

Egg in the church or The Snake is an example of photographic collage that was popularized by Surrealists like Breton and Man Ray. Typical of Breton, the title is both symbolic and enigmatic and its subject matter is cryptic and dream-like. It exemplifies the Surrealist interest in the female body as form, as well as an interest in themes concerning sexuality and religion, as elucidated by Georges Bataille. Bataille's text dealt, in part, with Christianity's repression of desire. Breton and his colleagues aspired to reduce all sexual repressions to symbols and language that would serve freedom of expression.

Collage on Paper - Musée d'Ixelles

1924
Poeme (1924)

Poeme

This is an early example of a Surrealist collage that fuses text and image. Breton wrote this poem the same year he published the Surrealist Manifesto. More than a poetic expression, it reveals Breton's increasing belief in journalism as a potent artistic form as the piece uses newspaper and magazine clipping materials as its source. The text is absurdist and constructs its own logic that would not make sense to a reader trying to understand it as traditional language.

Collage on paper - Elsa Adamowicz

1947-48
The African Mask (1947-48)

The African Mask

The African Mask is a good example of Breton's studies of Primitive art and its shamanistic potency. Breton was renowned for his mask collection. The first mask he purchased was from Easter Island. While in the United States, Breton traveled around the country, visiting several Native American sites and collecting masks all along the way. He was interested in them as visual objects as well as the metaphorical concept as a window into one's inner mind.

Ink and wax on paper - Mark Borghi Fine Art

1928
Cadavre Exquis with André Breton, Max Morise, Jeannette Tanguy, Pierre Naville, Benjamin Peret, Yves Tanguy and Jacques Prevert (1928)

Cadavre Exquis with André Breton, Max Morise, Jeannette Tanguy, Pierre Naville, Benjamin Peret, Yves Tanguy and Jacques Prevert

This is an example of an artwork made as an Exquisite Corpse, a Surrealist game developed to free the mind and to tap into subconscious forces, similar to doodling. In this game, artist fold the page into sections and hide previous contributions or build upon one another's collaborative efforts to create a work that is inspired by consecutive artistic moves. In Breton's early development of theories about automatism, he and his colleagues made many of these collages. They also emphasize the act of collaboration, which was a fundamental ideal to both Dada and Surrealism.

Collage on paper - Museum of Modern Art, New York, Estate of Yves Tanguy

1935
Poeme Objet (1935)

Poeme Objet

Breton made many Poem Objects, such as this assemblage constructed around a plaster egg. Many of his Poem Objects were assemblages. The text on the plaster egg in this work translates as "I see / I imagine" though the poem beneath is deliberately cryptic. Like the Exquisite Corpse, Breton made these objects as a reflection of his inner mind, and also thought of them as analytical tools that could be analyzed, like dreams.

Mixed media collage - National Galleries of Scotland

Similar Art

Francis Picabia: Parade Amoureuse (Love Parade) (1917)

Parade Amoureuse (Love Parade) (1917)

Max Ernst: Ubu Imperator (1923)

Ubu Imperator (1923)

Related Artists

Related Movements & Topics

Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

"André Breton Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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First published on 01 Jul 2009. Updated and modified regularly
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