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Preparation of Altar XI

The Great Invisibles



Author André Breton
People cited Jean Crotti, Benjamin Péret


Folder for the preparation of one of the twelve altars planned for the exhibition Surrealism in 1947. Inspired by Duchamp's Large Glass, the ‘Great Invisibles’ are something of a recurring myth for the surrealists, and particularly for Breton in the 1940s (see an article on the subject published in the exhibition catalogue, André Breton: La beauté convulsive). It was therefore quite logical that this object was given a cult status at the 1947 International Surrealist Exhibition. The altar is ascribed to the Sign of Aquarius, the associated stone of which, evidently, is the diamond. Roland Penrose, who stated in a letter attached to the file that he is "fascinated" by the idea, was involved in the altar’s design. Péret, perhaps recollecting the elements of Christian communion, proposes to offer the Great Invisibles charcoal and red wine. [Atelier André Breton website, 2003] Folder titled by André Breton of one of the twelve altars of the surrealist exhibition at the Maeght Gallery in 1947 (all in a taped folder titled by André Breton). XI. The Great Invisibles, autograph note by Breton. [Auction Catalogue, 2003] - Altar card: Personification: The Great Invisibles; Text excerpts: André Breton, Manifestoes of Surrealism (‘Prolegomena to a Third Manifesto’), and Jules Monnerot, ‘Surrealism in 1947’ (Against the Fear to Imagine); Artist: Jacques Hérold; Offerings: Jacques Hérold; Correspondence: 11th hour of the Nuctemeron; Zodiac sign: Aquarius. - Notepad sheet : mentioning the name of a stone (Diamond) and a rewritten sentence, crossed out, and with annotations. - Folder sheet: with a sentence transcribed in pencil, author (B.P.). [Kandinsky Library website, 2023]
Creation datesd [1947]
Bibliographical materialMS - black pencil and black ink, red ink

Bibliothèque Kandinsky, Centre Pompidou, Paris : BRET 1.22

Number of pages2 p.
Breton Auction, 2003Lot 2282
Keywords, , ,
Set[Exhibitions] 1947, Exposition Maeght 1947
Exhibition1947, Le Surréalisme en 1947
Permanent link
Exhibition place

See also

1 Work

[You’ll have received from Jacques Brunius...]

Roland Penrose


Letter from Roland Penrose to André Breton dated 10 February 1947.

Seven images, a descriptive note, an associated work, a library.

[Correspondance] Correspondance avec Roland Penrose, [Exhibitions] 1947, Exposition Maeght 1947