Artists: Eileen Agar, Hans Arp, John Banting, Hans Bellmer, Wilhelm Bjerke-Petersen, Victor Brauner, André Breton, Serge Brignoni, Bernard Brunius, Edward Burra, Harry Carlsson, Leonora Carrington, Giorgio De Chirico, Ann Clark, Joseph Cornell, Salvador Dalí, Norman P. Dawson, Paul Delvaux, Óscar Domínguez, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Espinoza, Wilhelm Freddie, Alberto Giacometti, Stanley William Hayter, Maurice Henry, George Hugnet, Marcel Jean, Humphrey Jennings, Rita Kernn-Larsen, René Magritte, André Masson, Matta Echaurren (Roberto Matta), E.L.T Mesens, Joan Miró, Henry Moore, Stellan Mörner, Paul Nash, Nina Negri, Richard Oelze, Okamoto, Erik Olson, Meret Oppenheim, Wolfgang Paalen, Roland Penrose, Benjamin Péret, Olivier Picard, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Remedios Varo, Kurt Seligmann, Max Servais, Jindřich Štyrský, Yves Tanguy, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Esaias Thorén, Elsa Thoresen, Toyen, Raoul Ubac, Gérard Vulliamy

Opening: January 17, 1938

Duration: January 17February 24, 1938

Dimensions: 11 x 14 cm

Further Information: Two years after the International Surrealist Exhibition in London’s New Burlington Galleries, and curator Alfred Barr’s group exhibition Fantastic Art, Dada and Surrealism at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, André Breton and Paul Éluard opened the doors to the Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme. The vernissage took place on January 17, 1938, at around 10 p.m., in Georges Wildenstein’s Galerie Beaux-Arts on Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, Paris. In addition to Breton himself, the almost 60 exhibited artists from a total of 14 countries included Ann Clark, Salvador Dalí (whose contributions, as well as Max Ernst’s, were especially recommended in the accompanying catalog), Alberto Giacometti, René Magritte, Joan Miró, Meret Oppenheim, Pablo Picasso, and Man Ray. The invitation card for the opening highlighted a few artistic contributions, for example: Salvador Dalí’s Taxi Pluvieux; L’acte Manqué, a dance performance by Hélène Vanels; and Ciel de roussettes, an installation by Marcel Duchamp.

The catalog’s introductory text, written by art critic Raymond Cogniat, noted that the exhibition would break with established exhibition convention. According to Cogniat, it was not enough to hang paintings side-by-side on a wall; rather, visitors should be invited to become part of and explore a previously hidden, never-before perceived world. With a specially designed lighting concept by Man Ray, water and plant installations by Wolfgang Paalen, the placement of an electric brazier in the middle of the room, and an acoustic background featuring the steps and laughter of soldiers, the organizers created a surrealistic framework for the presentation of individual art contributions. It was this mode of presentation that made the exhibition in the Galerie Beaux-Arts extremely popular. The 3000 visitors to the opening event were to be followed by an average of 500 visitors a day by the end of the exhibition on February 24, 1938.

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Images: Images of the invitation and all other archival documents shown on this page are part of the online collection of Archiv der Avantgarden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden.

André BretonGiorgio de ChiricoHans ArpJoan MiróJoseph CornellMan RayMarcel DuchampMax ErnstMeret OppenheimPablo PicassoPaul ÉluardYves Tanguy

The catalog for the Exposition Internationale di Surréalisme can be seen below:

This invitation below was used a year prior to the international surrealism show in 1938, for a special event in which André Breton would perform his comedy program Humour Noir.