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Frequently Asked Questions



1. What is the purpose of the André Breton site?

The purpose of the André Breton website is to offer an open interface to public users on the work and collection of André Breton, collected in Paris, at 42 rue Fontaine. Designed as a multiple process interface, the site presents, with the help of an advisory board, photographs, notices and practical information for each item in the collection. For each description, hyperlinks connect you to useful information about the object, and one can navigate the site according to a surrealist sense of "objective chance," as any one notice can lead to multiple discoveries, thus reflecting the spirit of profusion and association dear to the surrealist poet. The site seeks to surrealism to the world”, and is created as a platform for research. However, like any resource center, you can also browse and discover the information here at your leisure.

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2. When was it created and by whom?

The André Breton website was developed in 2005 on the initiative of André Breton Atelier Association after the sale of the contents of Breton's atelier at 42 Rue Fontaine in 2003.

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3. Are the photographs and data copyright-free?

Together, this site’s display and content make up a work protected by the current laws on intellectual property. Legal notices can be found on this web page.

You may order digitalized photographs using the button “Order this image”, under each photograph, leading to the purchase order needed to acquire it.

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4. Can I see his work in person?

All useful information is provided in the notice. If a work is available online, on the site Mélusine of Centre Pompidou or Bibliothèque littéraire Jacques Doucet, a link will refer to it. If not, a link to search engine optimization (Sudoc, Worldcat, BnF, Joconde) will indicate where to find it.

If known, the actual place of conservation of the works of art is indicated in the Museum list, Libraries, Galleries or Archive departments lists: it’s up to you to make an appointment with the appropriate conservationist in order to consult the work in person.

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5. I'm searching for specific information - for example, about Apollinaire and Breton. How should I proceed?

The best tool for a specific type of research is the search engine, located on the top right of the webpage. Enter the keyword you’re looking for (i.e. Apollinaire), and you’ll be sent to the results page. The results of your research will be displayed by lists, divided into tabs:

- Tab “All” collects all the results.

- Tab “Bibliography” gives a list of André Breton’s publications related to the research request.

- Tab “Contributors/Persons" refers to all persons related to your research (artists, authors, translators, persons quoted or represented, contributors to magazines, etc.). Please note that they are listed in alphabetical order.

- Tab “André Breton / Note cards” refers to Étienne-Alain Hubert and Philippe Bernier's biographic text on André Breton, as well as to Julien Gracq’s, and to some other introductory texts to the site. This tab is displayed when the term you’re searching is in the text.

- Tab “Series” open the series related to your subject. These series are either a group of objects from the site gathered thematically in a dossier by André Breton himself (Dossier Nadja, Sommeils, Dossier AEAR/AAER, Dossier Exposition, etc.); or the various issues of a Revue; or the various manuscripts of an author; etc.

- Tab “Labels” give the most effective correlates words or « tags » to look into a specific aspect of the result: “Affaire Aragon”, “Graphic Arts”, “Poetry”, “Letter”, “Poem Object”...

- Tab “Events” lists all events related to your research: exhibitions, publications, conferences, symposium, for example, and even educational sheets.

- Tab "Work," give access to the site’s objects and documents containing the term (notice and metadata) you’re looking for.

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6. My search came up with too many results. Which tools are available to help me refine my search?

You can use several tabs: “All”, “Bibliographies”, “Comments”, “Contributors or Authors/ Persons”, “André Breton/Note cards”, “Series”, “Labels”, “Events”, “Work”: See question 5.

In the tab “Work”, for example, using the filters on the left hand edge, you can select the results according to various criteria: “Publishing year”, “Categories” (Various Archives, Popular Arts, Natural Objects and Rare Discoveries, Primitive Arts, Correspondence, Books, Catalogues, Journals, Manuscripts, Fine-Arts, Photographs, and Libraries and Museums), “Publishers”, “Labels”, “Languages”, “Localizations”, “Roles” (the name of the person you are looking for, as the case might be: the same person can be either an author or a quoted person, for example), “Series” (see question 5) and “Work Medium” (Book, Game, Archives, Various Objects, Periodical, Photograph, Correspondence, Painting, Drawing, Manuscript...).

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7. How do faceted filters work?

Several filters are available on the left-hand edge: “Contains the text”, “Publishing Year”, “Categories”, “Publishers”, “Labels”, “Languages”, “Localizations”, “Roles”, “Series”, “Medium”, and your bookmarks.

You can select in each filter the terms (facets) available in the mass of results. For example, in order to choose among the 131 results displayed following a request for “Apollinaire”, I chose “Mercure de France” in the filter “Publishers”: I found the record of the book “L’Enfer de la Bibliothèque nationale”; and if I select “Gallimard”, the biography of Apollinaire by André Rouveyre is also displayed.

It is also possible to use the tabs with various filters in order to match up the requests. If I choose “Book” among the “Medium” of the 131 results, I have 37 answers. If I select “Pierre Cailler” among the “Publishers”, only one notice is displayed.

Thus, usually with three clicks, you can find the notice you are interested in.

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8. Some results of the faceted filters are displayed in grey. Is this normal?

If a criterion is displayed in grey, it means that this option is not available. To undo it, void the selected criteria or change the words of your research.

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9. Are there shortcuts I can use to find a specific item in the catalogue? i.e. How can I use the clipboard?

A useful tool to quickly find results to your search is the "clipboard" or "bookmark". It works as a function of “favorites”. When you are interested in an item of André Breton site and you wish to return to it later on, you can create a bookmark using the menu on the left.

To be able to access it later, use the heading “Bookmark” from the menu “Participate”. This way, you will also be able to access other users' bookmarks on the site. Note that this option is only available to connected members.

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10. I can’t find my search criterion in the index category. For example, I’m looking for a specific lot of the 2003 auction sale. How can I access it?

When research criteria are not referenced in the research categories, they are nevertheless available: enter them in the search engine (at the top right hand of the page). For example, if you are looking for “lot 2193”, this request provides you with access to all results containing the string of characters 2193. All you have to do now is to select one item of the lot, and then the criteria “lot 2193”.

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11. How should I begin to navigate the André Breton site?

Just as André Breton’s collection was, according to Gracq, a “forest” of objects through which an adventurer could encounter the fortuitous juxtapositions which André Breton took such delight to arrange, this website proposes various itineraries to discover the myriad treasures here displayed. On the homepage, you can begin with the interactive presentations. Let your curiosity lead you to click on various the objects of the Centre Pompidou “Wall” and of the Atelier de la rue Fontaine. An album randomly chosen from the homepage offers you a thematic selection of potentially interesting things to discover from the catalogue.

You can also browse the site’s various headings, via the menu at the top of the screen, or visit an exhibition online. The educational resources and the informational presentation of André Breton are additional pedagogical aids to get to know more about surrealism and its founder. But this is only the tip of the iceberg...

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12. How to create an online album: Will it be private? How can I make it public? Is it possible to modify other people’s albums?

To create an Album select the heading “Album". Then select the heading on the left “Albums”, then “Add an Album”. You will enter a page where you can create your album. Enter the name, the description and the language of your album. Now your album is created. All you need to do is to add items to it!

As soon as you find an object to add to your album, there are two ways to proceed:

1. You have in front of you a list of results. Click on the heart-shaped pictogram and the software will help you.

2. You have in front of you a notice on some item. Click on “Album” on the left-hand side and then select the corresponding album.

Afterwards you can modify, edit the order of the items or suppress an item by selecting it in the heading “Album”. Under this same heading you can make it public, as all albums are private by default.

The album is only visible for you and for the website administrator. It allows you to work on the list of your exhibition project, your paper or your ongoing book, to present works to your class, etc.

The published album is randomly displayed on the homepage: it is a communication tool for your project, whether it be an exhibition, a book, a conference, etc.

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13. I wish to develop a project (exhibition, research, showing) with the André Breton Association. How can I do that?

Please contact Constance Krebs, editor of the website, under the heading “Presentation”, subcategory “Contact”.

You can create an album (see question 12).

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14. I think I found an error on the André Breton site, or I wish to add a picture, or additional information to a particular notice. How can I make a change on the website?

Once connected, you can propose, by using the wiki (located on the left side of each notice), a supplement, a clarification or an image (by using the tool “Add an image” at the bottom of the wiki page).

You can also post a comment. Other users will probably answer it and together you will open a forum for discussion.

Comments and wikis will be examined by the Advisory Board who will validate your suggestions, or answer you in less than a week.

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15. What are the requirements to register with the site? What rights will I have?

No registration fee is required. Registration gives you access to the creation of a album, clipboards, or bookmarks, and allows you to propose corrections on the wikis and add comments.

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16. How can I subscribe to the information letter?

You only need to enter your e-mail under the heading “Presentation”, subcategory “Information letter”.

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17. I would like to write to André Breton website. Who do I contact?

Please contact Constance Krebs, editor of the website, under the heading “Presentation”, subcategory “Contact”.