a movement in visual art and literature, flourishing in Europe between World Wars I and II. Surrealism grew principally out of the earlier Dada movement, which before World War I produced works of anti-art that deliberately defied reason; but Surrealism's emphasis was not on negation but on positive expression. The movement represented a reaction against what its members saw as the destruction wrought by the "rationalism" that had guided European culture and politics in the past and that had culminated in the horrors of World War I. According to the major spokesman of the movement, the poet and critic André Breton, who published "The Surrealist Manifesto" in 1924, Surrealism was a means of reuniting conscious and unconscious realms of experience so completely that the world of dream and fantasy would be joined to the everyday rational world in "an absolute reality, a surreality." Drawing heavily on theories adapted from Sigmund Freud, Breton saw the unconscious as the wellspring of the imagination. He defined genius in terms of accessibility to this normally untapped realm, which, he believed, could be attained by poets and painters alike.
The major Surrealist painters were Jean Arp, Max Ernst, André Masson, René Magritte, Yves Tanguy, Salvador Dalí, Pierre Roy, Paul Delvaux, and Joan Miró. With its emphasis on content and free form, Surrealism provided a major alternative to the contemporary, highly formalistic Cubist movement and was largely responsible for perpetuating in modern painting the traditional emphasis on content.
sitemapArtists A collection of links to painters, photographers, digital artists, and graphic designers. Books A selection of books focused on the Surrealist movement, surreal photography, art history, and artist biographies. Biographies Links to biographies of prominent artists of the Surrealist movement. History Art history links focusing on Dadaism and Surrealism. Interview Interviews with contemporary Surreal painters, photographers, digital artists, and graphic designers. Galleries Museums and galleries around the world that display Surreal art. Prints Poster images by some of the most popular Surealist artists.