Beauté de l'imagerie populaire
Taken as a whole, a collection always has a certain homogeneity. This one is no exception to the rule. Its homogeneity is biographical, if you will, shedding light on the life of André Breton-who used the "population curve" to illustrate a passage from "Nadja", then in the same way used the "peasant spoon" to illustrate passages from "L'Amour fou ". An impenetrable 17th century gouache, "La huitième clé de Basile Valentin", and walking sticks, and then the crystal ball of the clairvoyant, illustrating "l'Art Magique."
The small collection of walking sticks is chosen with obvious discernment. A group of almost a hundred stoups, of folk workmanship principally from the southwest, was located with a certain sense of appropriateness in the shower room. Several dozen holy wafer moulds and extremely old waffle irons speak to us of fire and bread. A netsuke in bone shows a skull surmounted by a snake; a "crossroads god" from the Aveyron in red clay evokes Gallic art; the shell of a pangolin, as well as a group of Mexican statuettes, the world of the exotic; a stone "two lovers" console table, the medieval period; a small book cabinet in the form of an Alsatian house, Alsace. Also in the collection, a piece of a Kilim, folk art prints, fossilized sea urchins, a chest from the Alps, a collection of moulded bottles, cabalistic charms, a frog snuffbox, butterflies, a tortoise shell, the famous Musidora poster, smoothed stones and wooden anthropomorphic carvings, as well as various smaller objects.
"That you are thinking of letting the larger public benefit from the knowledge and pleasures that your uninterrupted and impassioned quest for folk art has brought to you, is news which brings even more joy to my heart than to my mind. For my part, I am indebted to you for enabling me to better orient myself in the profusion of works which can be grouped under the banner of Folk art, its objects, as we have so often agreed, the equals-at the very least-of all sorts of individual works signed by more or less illustrious names and created in a more ambitious spirit. Nothing is comparable-in the sense of that "intake of air" I have always advocated-to the effect which a number of them produce in me, precisely those which you picked out at once. Care needs to be taken: you needed all the qualities which I appreciate in you and which, by who knows what path, seem to me derive from the very qualities that we imagine in some aged illuminator or wood carver, from the maker of such functional-or other-objects (from spoon to toy) to the village potter-glazer, each object must be the product of a single person; by this I mean someone inventing his own craft while nevertheless remaining true to tradition. You revealed to me in particular the beauty of Folk imagery, its marvellous ups and downs clinging closely to those of history; you unwound before my eyes the subtle thread which-to speak only of it but which goes much further-the warp and weave of a France which goes from Chartres to Orléans, from Paris to Beauvais, from Nantes to Quimper, from Lille to Caen, unwinding from Toulouse to Epinal. All that we know of our own country-the blues, the pinks, the greens-shift slightly at the image of a sound emanating from the curvature of our rivers: what more precious reference is there? I attest to the fact that you are the most apt of men I know to be capable of making it be felt, here as well as far away. I shake both your hands
(Letter from André Breton to Edmond Bomsel, co-editor of Sagittaire and long-time friend; from 1956, an extract from the Archives Bomsel published in: André Breton, La beauté convulsive, Musée Nationale d'Art Moderne / Centre Georges Pompidou, Ed. du Centre Pompidou, Paris 1991, p. 417)
The descriptions in this category were established in 2003 by the expert, Henri-Claude Randier. They can be modified by the wiki and your commentary. Your additions are moderated.