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Giraffe , Julia Sweda. The Burning Giraffe , Salvador Dali, 1936-37. Surrealism.

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Surrealism is a cultural, artistic, and intellectual movement oriented toward the liberation of the mind by emphasizing the critical and imaginative faculties of the "unconscious mind" and the attainment of a state different from, "more than", and ultimately "truer" than everyday reality: the "sur-real", or "more than real".

paris 1924 1946
Paris, 1924-1946
  • Between World Wars
  • Café Life
  • Artists & Writers

From Around the World,

Concentrated in One Place

the surrealists
The Surrealists

International Movement, Founded in Paris

* Included Poets, Painters & Musicians, many veterans & refugees from WWI

The surrealist group in Paris, circa 1930. From left to right: Tristan Tzara, Paul Éluard, Andre Breton, Hans Arp, Salvador Dali, Yves Tanguy, Max Ernst, Rene Crevel, Man Ray.

suicide in the trenches
Suicide in the Trenches

I knew a simple soldier boy

Who grinned at life in empty joy,

Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,

And whistled early with the lark.

In winter trenches, cowed and glum,

With crumps and lice and lack of rum,

He put a bullet through his brain.

No one spoke of him again.

“crump” = a large explosive shell or bomb.

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye

Who cheer when soldier lads march by,

Sneak home and pray you'll never know

The hell where youth and laughter go.

--Siegfried Sassoon


André Breton1896-1966, Poet*studied psychiatry*served in neurology ward in WWI*met Sigmund Freudin 1921*wrote “Surrealist Manifesto, 1924


sigmund freud 1856 1939
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
  • Founder of psychoanalytic school of psychology
  • “The Talking Cure”
  • The Interpretation of Dreams (1899)

ImaginationThe imagination is perhaps on the point of reasserting itself, of reclaiming its rights. If the depths of our mind contain within it strange forces capable of augmenting those on the surface, or of waging a victorious battle against them, there is every reason to seize them--André Breton, “The Surrealist Manifesto,” 1924


I have always been amazed at the way an ordinary observer lends so much more credence and attaches so much more importance to waking events than to those occurring in dreams.--André Breton, “The Surrealist Manifesto,” 1924

salvador dali
Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali 1904-1989


(n.) Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express--verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner--the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by the thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.--Andre Breton, “The Surrealist Manifesto”


The image is a pure creation of the mind.It cannot be born from a comparison but from a juxtaposition of two more or less distant realities. The more the relationship between the two juxtaposed realities is distant and true, the stronger the image will be--the greater its emotional power and poetic reality.--Pierre Reverdy

object meret oppenheim
Object, Meret Oppenheim

Object, Meret Oppenheim, 1936

lobster telephone
Lobster Telephone

Lobster Telephone, Salvador Dalí, 1936

carnival of harlequin miro
Carnival of Harlequin, Miro

Carnival of Harlequin, Joan Miró, 1924-1925

the treachery of images rene magritte
The Treachery of Images, Rene Magritte

The Treachery of Images, René Magritte, 1928-29

dulce et decorum est
Dulce et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,

Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,

Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs

And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots

But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;

Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots

Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,

Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;

But someone still was yelling out and stumbling

And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--

Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light

As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,

He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace

Behind the wagon that we flung him in,

And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,

His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood

Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,

Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud

Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est

Pro patria mori.

-Wilfred Owen

ideal mistress by robert desnos
Ideal Mistressby Robert Desnos
  • I was delayed that afternoon because I had brushed the teeth of a pretty animal that I'm patiently taming. It's a chameleon. This endearing animal smoked, as usual, some cigarettes, then I left. I met her on the stairs. "I'm mauving," she told me . . . But in vain, memories become sardine! Hardly, hardly a button doodledoos. Fall, fall down! And here the verdict: "The dancer will be executed the following morning while doing a dance step with her gems sacrificed to the heat of her body: The blood of the gems, soldiers!"And what then, the mirror yet! Mistress you black square, and if the clouds all at once forgetmenot, they mill in the ever present eternity.

In the dark, the small dog howls my name painfully.

Out in the light, big cats whisper her place pleasantly.

Inside out dark, small dogs scream his nothingness uncomfortably.

Outside in light, large turtles whisper their everything comfortably.

Inside in darkness, small evils scream my nothingness awkwardly.

Outside in brightness, large gods whisper my everything comfortably.

Inside the dark, small demons scream your faults.


If your heart fails,

Then you will get lice.

If sheep were purple,

Then the sun won’t rise tomorrow morning.

If the heart protests your will,

Then she will smile like she blew all the candles out.

If God is mad at you,

Then the pages will read backwards and upside dow


If bees could count,

Then people would see your true self.

If rain fell sideways,

Then the monkeys would sing in Spanish.

If fishes drowned and people swam,

Then everyone would believe the world is flat.