Fauvism and Surrealism

We will mention some references to art movements in CCR almost as briefly as Powell does.

Stringham refers to his former sister-in-law Anne Stepney “chattering away about Braque and Dufy.” [CCR 170/175] This is a reprise of an similar statement he made in 1933 [AW 208/199].  About 1906-1907 Braque and Dufy were fauvists like Derain and Matisse. Members, writing about St. John Clarke, referred to “an ephemeral, if almost painfully sincere, digression into what was for him the wonderland of fauviste painting.” [CCR 185-186/190-192 ]

Later Jenkins tells about his brother-in-law Hugo, who goes to work for an antique dealer, Mrs. Baldwyn Hodges, “a middle-aged, capable leathery woman of a type Mr. Deacon would have particularly loathed had he lived to see the rise of her shop…” [CCR 194/200-201].  Mr. Deacon would have also been appalled that Hugo and Mrs. Baldwyn Hodges met at the Surrealist Exhibition, since surrealism was on the list of styles that he detested.

Andre Breton photo by Man Ray, 1931. Gelatin silver print (solarized), 11 1/2 x 8 3/4″  Museum of Modern Art, New York © 2012 Man Ray Trust/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris 92.1941

André Breton
photo by Man Ray, 1931.
Gelatin silver print (solarized), 11 1/2 x 8 3/4″
Museum of Modern Art, New York
© 2012 Man Ray Trust/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris
92.1941

Surrealism began as a Parisian literary movement. It had antecedents in the 1910s, but the documented birth year is 1924 when André Breton published the Manifesto of Surrealism. Surrealism had intellectual connections to Freudian psychology and Marxist politics. The writers strove to release their subconscious imaginations.  Soon, visual artists associated with the movement, which Breton encouraged by reproducing their works in his journal La Révolution Surréaliste and by helping to organize exhibits of their work, whether paintings, drawings, sculpture, or photographs. Visual surrealist art is quite diverse but united by efforts to break with conventional culture and see the world in new ways. We show Man Ray’s photographic portrait of Breton, because Ray (1890-1976) was a prominent surrealist.

 

 

Surealism Exhibition Catalog Cover Contemporary Poetry and Prose, Issue 2, 1936 Editor Roger Roughton Image : Max Ernst

Surealism Exhibition Catalog Cover
Contemporary Poetry and Prose, Issue 2, 1936
Editor Roger Roughton
Image by Max Ernst

The London International Surrealism Exhibition ran for three weeks at the New Burlington Gallery beginning June 11, 1936. It was organized by a small group of British surrealist painters with the help of Breton and others. Arp, Calder, Dali, Miro, Ernst, Magritte, Picasso, Duchamp, Klee, Man Ray, Henry Moore, Giacometti, and many more exhibited works; Dali almost suffocated while performing in a deep sea diver’s helmet. Forty thousand people attended the exhibit, yet Powell later wrote that Surrealism never really took hold in Britain [SPA 295-299].

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