EXPOSITION INTERNATIONALE DU SURRÉALISME, Galerie Beaux Arts, Paris, 1938
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, 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 17 – February 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 held the 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 artistic contributions, as well as Max Ernst’s contributions in the accompanying exhibition catalog, were especially recommended), Alberto Giacometti, René Magritte, Joan Miró, Meret Oppenheim, Pablo Picasso and Man Ray. The invitation card for the opening of the exhibition highlighted a few selected 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 introductory text in the exhibition catalog, written by art critic Raymond Cogniat, suggested 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 to the exhibition 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 evening were to be followed by an average of 500 visitors a day by the end of the exhibition on February 24, 1938.
translated by SL
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.