Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme

Paris, France

Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme

The Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme was an exhibition by surrealist artists that took place from January 17 to February 24, 1938, in the generously equipped Galérie Beaux-Arts, run by Georges Wildenstein, at 140, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris. It was organised by the French writer André Breton, the surrealists' brain and theorist, and Paul Éluard, the best known poet of the movement. The catalogue listed, along with the above, Marcel Duchamp as generator and arbitrator (to appease the partly fierce conflicts mainly between Breton and Éluard), Salvador Dalí and Max Ernst as technical advisers, Man Ray as head lighting technician and Wolfgang Paalen as responsible for the design the entrance and main hall with "water and foliage". The exhibition was staged in three sections, showing paintings and objects as well as unusually decorated rooms and mannequins which had been redesigned in various ways. With this holistic presentation of surrealist art work the movement wrote exhibition history.

Before their first group exhibition in November 1925, which took place in Pierre Loeb's gallery "Pierre" in Paris, the surrealist artists had previously shown their works at solo exhibitions. The group exhibition showed works of Giorgio de Chirico, Hans Arp, Max Ernst, Paul Klee, Man Ray, André Masson, Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso and Pierre Roy. Another joint exhibition followed in 1928 in the Parisian gallery "Au Sacre du Printemps" with the title "Le Surréalisme, existe-t-il?" (Does Surrealism really exist?) Among the participants were Max Ernst, André Masson, Joan Miró, Francis Picabia und Yves Tanguy. Further group exhibitions followed. In 1931 the first surrealist exhibition in the US took place in the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut, and in May 1936 the "Exposition surréaliste d'objets" was held in the Parisian gallery Charles Ratton, which particularly valued object art and also referred to Primitivism, sexual fetishes and mathematical models.

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