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Preface-manifesto to an exhibition of Symbolist drawings
Author André BretonPeople cited Charles Angraud, Jules Christophe, James Ensor, Gustave Flaubert, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Isidore Ducasse, dit comte de Lautréamont, Jean Lorrain, Stéphane Mallarmé, Gustave Moreau, Edvard Munch, Emil Nolde, Odilon Redon, Arthur Rimbaud, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Henri, dit le Douanier Rousseau, Félix Vallotton, Paul Valéry, Charles Cros, Marcel Duchamp, Charles Filiger, Paul Gauguin, Alfred Jarry, Germain Nouveau, Raymond Roussel, Georges Seurat, Paul Sérusier
Manuscript of the ‘preface-manifesto’ for the exhibition Dessins symbolistes (Symbolist Drawings), organised by Breton at the Bateau-Lavoir in March 1958.
The ‘preface-manifesto’ for the Dessins symbolistes [Symbolist Drawings] exhibition, organised by Breton at the Bateau-Lavoir in March 1958, makes an attack upon the recurring polemic against so-called ‘literary’ painting, because there is more at stake than simply brightening up a dining room. Breton prefers to draw a line between painting as ‘idle discourse’, which simply comments on the world, and painting as ‘revelation". Surrealism is thus seen as the legitimate guardian of an unjustly neglected heritage, that of Symbolism - a Symbolism in which Breton increasingly avowed an interest since the 1953 radio interviews, which provided him with an opportunity to look back on his youth. [Atelier André Breton website, 2005]
Signed autograph manuscript, Paris, 25 March 1958.
- 2 pages in-4° handwritten, titled, dated and signed in ink, with numerous erasures and corrections of André Breton's preface for the catalogue of the 1958 Dessins symbolistes [Symbolist Drawings] exhibition at the Bateau-Lavoir.
- 1 large in-4° page on yellow card, handwritten in red ink by Breton, comprising a table which shows the contemporaneity of poets and painters from 1844 to 1944, such as [Henri] Rousseau, Ducasse, Gauguin, Rimbaud, Seurat, Jarry, Filiger, Roussel, Münch, and Sérusier. This synoptic table is followed by the handwritten text of the first paragraph for the preface to the exhibition of Symbolist drawings:
"If there is a commonplace nowadays capable, in itself, of epitomizing those who do not disregard it, it is indeed that which consists of affixing the epithet 'literary' to any painting whose ambition goes further than offering us an image of the external world or, failing that, claiming in the final analysis to provide only visual pleasure." [Auction Catalogue, 2003]
André Breton (Édition publiée sous la direction d'Étienne-Alain Hubert avec la collaboration de Philippe Bernier et Marie-Claire Dumas), « Du Symbolisme », in Le Surréalisme et la Peinture, Œuvres complètes, tome IV, Écrits sur l'art et autres textes, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, Paris, Gallimard, 2008, pages 777 à 784, notes p. 1369-1371.
|Date of publication||1958|
|Physical description||Ms - encres de couleur|
|Number of pages||2 - 1|
|Breton Auction, 2003||Lot 2457|
|Keywords||Graphic Arts, Work notes, symbolism|
|Categories||Andre Breton's Manuscripts|
|Set||[AB's Manuscripts] Manuscripts 1958-1966|