Surrealism dominated avant-garde art during the second quarter of the 20th century. The term was coined by the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire in 1917 in reference to his drama Les Mamelles de Tiersias. The French poet André Breton described it in the first Manifesto of Surrealism in 1924, defining its ‘pure psychic automatism by which it is intended to express… the true function of thought. Thought dictated in the absence of all control exerted by reason, and outside all aesthetic or moral preoccupations.
Surrealism grew directly from Dadaism, continuing on the Dada characteristics of experimentation with fate, interest in found objects, biomorphism (ambiguous and organic shapes) and automatism. The Surrealists, however, added a psychological twist, helping to popularise the Freudian fascination with sex, dreams and the unconscious. During the 1920s the two styles of Surrealist painting developed. The first was the automatism favoured by Miro and Masson. Lyrical and highly abstract, their compositions present loosely drawn figures or forms in shallow space. The second is exemplified by the bizarre, hallucinatory images of Tanguy, Dali and Ernst, which are rendered in a precise, realist style (Veristic Surrealism).
Shapero Modern holds a varied collection of Surrealist prints and works on paper, from Miro to Dali.
Joan Miro’s Les Forestiers (Bleu) uses colour and form in a symbolic manner. Miro developed intricate compositions and a wandering linear style that combined abstract elements with recurring motifs such as eyes and stars. Click here to see more Surrealist prints by Joan Miro.
Shapero Modern also has in its collection a complete set of eleven engravings by forerunners of the Surrealist movement such as Jean Arp, Hans Bellmer, Marcel Duchamp, Rene Magritte and Man Ray, titled Surrealism between two wars.
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