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October's lesson



Author André Breton
Person cited Charles Estienne


Signed handwritten manuscript dated 23 February 1954 of a text devoted to Charles Estienne, written on the back of headed notepaper for Médium.

Taking up the watchword issued by his friend Charles Estienne, in February 1954 Breton fired a shot against the bows of the sleepy assembly of contemporary painters, robustly calling upon them to rediscover the lure of the high seas and forget the pointless argument that, on the pretext of pitting the defendants of the abstract against those of the concrete, permits both sides to rest complacently on their laurels. The text departs from the directions of art criticism as usually practiced by Breton, and instead recalls interventions and tracts dealing with more sensitive subjects. It would be republished in 1965 in the definitive edition of Surrealism and Painting. ‘It was our friend Charles Estienne, chiding in his inimitable manner those who have never felt – or have long since forgotten – the lure of the high seas.’ [Atelier André Breton website, 2005]


Signed handwritten manuscript, 23 February 1954.
- 1 in-4° page of manuscript in ink on the back of headed notepaper for Médium, titled, dated and signed by André Breton, with deletions and corrections, of this text devoted to Charles Estienne:
‘Charles Estienne’s manifesto ‘22’, published as a preface to the second Salon d’Octobre, has whipped up a most healthy sea-breeze. It is also a text of major significance on the theoretical level, and one that should be made compulsory reading.’ [Auction catalogue, 2003]


Translated by Krzysztof Fijalkowski


- André Breton, « Leçon d'Octobre », Combat-Art, 1er mars 1954
- André Breton (Édition publiée sous la direction d'Étienne-Alain Hubert avec la collaboration de Philippe Bernier et Marie-Claire Dumas), « Leçon d'Octobre », Le Surréalisme et la Peinture, Œuvres complètes, tome IV, Écrits sur l'art et autres textes, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, Paris, Gallimard, 2008, p. 758, notice p. 1364

Creation date23-févr.-54
Bibliographical material

André Breton, ‘Leçon d'Octobre’, Combat-Art, 1 March 1954

André Breton, ‘Leçon d'Octobre’, Le Surréalisme et la PeintureŒuvres complètes, volume IV, Écrits sur l'art et autres textes (edition established by Marguerite Bonnet and edited by Étienne-Alain Hubert with contributions from Philippe Bernier and Marie-Claire Dumas), Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, Paris, Gallimard, 2008, p. 758, notes p. 1364.

Date of publication 01/03/1954
Physical descriptionMs - encre noire
Breton Auction, 2003Lot 2377
Keywords, ,
CategoriesManuscripts, Andre Breton's Manuscripts
Set[Mansucrits d'AB] articles pour Combat, [Breton's Manuscripts and Drawings] dossier Le Surréalisme et la peinture
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