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(b Nantes, April 10, 1880; d Milan, Sept 26, 1950).

French painter, stage designer and illustrator. After working briefly in an architect’s office in Nantes, he moved to Paris and enrolled at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, which he disliked. He then worked on designs for the Exposition Universelle of 1900 before entering the Ecoles des Langues Orientales to learn Japanese and modern Greek. After this he studied at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs under Eugène-Samuel Grasset and then, from 1902 to 1904, at the Académie Julian under Jean-Paul Laurens. He first exhibited paintings in 1906 at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts and in 1907 and 1908 at the Salon des Indépendants. About 1910 Roy came into contact with the Fauves and the circle of writers around them, such as Max Jacob and Guillaume Apollinaire, an association that influenced his style away from its earlier academicism. In 1913, through Alberto Savinio, he met and quickly became a friend of de Chirico, who was to be a great influence on his work. The following year Roy copied ...


Elizabeth Q. Bryan

(b Rome, Sept 10, 1890; d Paris, Nov 13, 1973)

Italian-born French fashion designer. Although Schiaparelli began her career with sportswear in the late 1920s, she is remembered for her Surrealism designs of the 1930s, often created in collaboration with such artists as Salvador Dalí, Jean Cocteau and Marcel Vertès. The drama of her original embroideries, vivid colours and strikingly witty accessories overshadows the simplicity of her sharply tailored suits and slender evening dresses (see fig. 1 and 2 ). Her ultimate success as a designer stemmed from her original sense of style and her instinctive attraction to the most avant-garde artistic circles.

Schiaparelli was born in Rome to a family of scholars and scientists and was educated in Switzerland and England. In London she fell in love in 1914 with the theosophist Wilhelm Wendt de Kerlor and married him without her family’s approval later that year. From 1914 to 1920 Schiaparelli and her husband led a precarious and bohemian existence, travelling from Britain to France to the United States. Along the way Schiaparelli met members of the international avant-garde, among them the Dadaist ...


Ruth Rosengarten

(Artur Manuel Rodrigues do)

(b Lisbon, Dec 3, 1920).

Portuguese painter, draughtsman, illustrator and poet. After a Neo-Realist phase, he joined the dissident group The Surrealists, founded in Lisbon in 1948 by Mário Cesariny. Cruzeiro Seixas participated in the two exhibitions held by this group in 1949 and 1950, with works inspired by the poetry of Lautréamont.

In his paintings and, more especially, drawings, for example La Variété en dehors d’elle-même (1947; Lisbon, Mus. Gulbenkian), he aimed to create a personal and often erotic imagery in the metamorphosis of human, plant and animal forms. These works seldom transcend the commonplace or contrived. His collages, such as The Basis of Language (1960; artist’s col., see Wohl, 1978 exh. cat., p. 83), resemble those of Max Ernst.

Between 1952 and 1964 he lived in Luanda, where he was a curator in the Museum of Angola. In 1965 he lived in Paris and returned to Portugal in 1966, where he illustrated several books that year: ...


Mona Hadler

(b Lucerne, April 8, 1918; d. Meilen, April 25, 25).

American painter of Swiss birth. Although Sekula was born and died in Switzerland, she spent the greater portion of her artistic career in America. Sekula was a major figure in the Surrealist circles in New York in the 1940s as well as a friend and collaborator to choreographer Merce Cunningham and composer John Cage , who were to play a dominant role in the art world of the 1950s. Coming to New York in l936, she studied art with George Grosz , enrolled at Sarah Lawrence College, and then, from 1941 until 1942, painted at the Art Students League under Morris Kantor. She was quickly catapulted into the Surrealist émigré circles in New York City. In 1943 she contributed a drawing and text to the New York Surrealist Magazine VVV, edited by her friend the sculptor David Hare. For that magazine she also collaborated on a Surrealist experimental work with Max Ernst, André Breton, Roberto Matta and Marcel Duchamp. Indicative of her inclusion in Breton’s circle, she was invited to exhibit at Peggy Guggenheim’s gallery, Art of This Century, where she participated in various group shows and held a solo exhibition in ...


Celia Rabinovitch

(b Basle, July 20, 1900; d Sugar Loaf, NY, Jan 2, 1962).

American painter, printmaker, sculptor, stage designer and writer of Swiss birth. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Geneva (1920) and at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence (1927). From this training he drew upon two dominant influences, combining a predilection for the illusionistic deep space and the clear vibrant colour of the Italian tradition with the fantastic narratives explored by earlier Swiss artists such as Johann Heinrich Füseli, Ferdinand Hodler, Urs Graf and Niklaus Manuel Deutsch.

In 1929 Seligmann moved to Paris, where he remained until 1938 and where he became associated with Surrealists. While in Paris he also became a member of Abstraction–Création and an acquaintance of Le Corbusier as well as Hans Arp, whose example led him to explore deliberately ambiguous biomorphic imagery. Although he did not formally join the Surrealist movement until 1937, he participated in Surrealist exhibitions throughout the 1930s and made use of organic and fantastic forms, often fusing natural with artificial elements. His paintings and etchings of this period, distinguished by their high degree of finish, make striking use of masks and of dancing figures constructed of abstract forms. Their sense of play, secrecy and concealment recalls the animism of the fairy tale and the Gothic tradition of northern Europe. The element of drama, tension and struggle in the dance is particularly apparent in his depiction of multiple figures. He worked in white tempera on a reddish ground, glazing over that layer with transparent colour and black outline. The highlights were added at the end in keeping with a traditional systematic approach to the illusionistic depiction of space....


Joyce Zemans


(b Shoeburyness, Essex, Feb 4, 1909; d Vancouver, BC, Nov 22, 1998).

Canadian painter, draughtsman and writer of English birth. In 1912 his family emigrated to British Columbia. Educated at Victoria College, BC (1926–7), and the Provincial Normal School in Victoria (1929), he studied art at the Euston Road Art School, London (1937), the André Lhote School of Art, Paris (1938), and the Art Students’ League, New York (1948–9). From 1929 to 1937 he taught art to children in Vancouver and in 1938 joined the Vancouver School of Art, where he was head of painting and drawing from 1945 to 1966. In 1944–5 he served with the Canadian war artists. In 1955 he became the first instructor at the Emma Lake Workshop, Regina College, Sask. He also executed costume and poster designs for theatre and dance, as well as murals for Edmonton Airport, the National Arts Centre, Ottawa, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Vancouver....


Jan Rous

(b Jaroměř, March 19, 1891; d Paris, July 24, 1971).

Czech painter and illustrator. Although he was resident in France from 1921, he remained in close contact with contemporary Czech art, especially Surrealism, and with Czech poetry. He participated in a number of exhibitions in Czechoslovakia (e.g. of the Devětsil Union of Artists, and the international exhibition Poetry 1932 in Prague). Šíma’s affinity with Surrealism had a cosmological dimension, which resulted after World War II in works that approached lyrical abstraction. He was especially concerned with rendering the relations between man and the cosmos, and the unity of the universe was a major theme. His work, and his ‘poetic’ approach in particular, had brought him close to the poets René Daumal (1908–44), Roger Vailland and Roger Gilbert-Lecomte (1907–43), with whom he founded the group Le Grand Jeu in Paris in 1927. His continued interest in poetry and cosmological concerns underpinned the iconography of his painting and of his illustrations. Throughout the period between the two World Wars he was concerned primarily with the poetic vision of landscape (e.g. ...


Daniela Mrázková

(b Čermná, Aug 11, 1899; d Prague, March 21, 1942).

Czech painter, collagist and photographer. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and was a member of the avant-garde group Devětsil (founded 1920). He collaborated with the painter Toyen and became a leading personality in the Czech Surrealist group, which emerged in 1934. At the first Surrealist exhibition in Prague in 1935 he exhibited, besides his paintings, designs and collages, two photographic series, Frog Man and Man with Blinkers. Štyrský used photography only from 1934 to 1938, and he produced ‘pictorial poems’—collages composed of photographic fragments—as well as photographs of mundane objects removed from their surroundings. In 1941 he published illegally, with the poet Jindřich Heisler, a small book, Na jehlách těchto dnů, which included photographic sequences and verse and constituted a fierce condemnation of Hitler’s dictatorship.

Štyrský, Jindřich with J. Heisler: Na jehlách těchto dnů [Living on tenterhooks] (1941) A. Moussu: Jindřich Štyrský: Fotografické dílo...


(b Malmö, Feb 20, 1912; d 1994).

Swedish painter and collagist. After taking lessons in decorative art at the Tekniska Skola in Malmö, from 1931 to 1932 he attended the Skanska Malerskola in Malmö. He failed to get into the Konstakademi in Stockholm and so went to the painting school run by Otte Sköld. In his work of the 1930s he experimented with various styles including Cubism. He also produced numerous fantastic works of grotesque human and animal metamorphoses that were influenced by Surrealism, for example Under the Wings of Paradise (pen-and-ink drawing, 1935; see 1979 exh. cat., p. 50). In the late 1930s he started to produce collages, such as Up-to-date Satire (1938; see 1979 exh. cat., p. 56), in which he used erotic imagery in an associative Surrealist manner. In 1943 Svanberg was a founder-member of the short-lived Surrealist Minotaurgruppen, and in 1945 he had his first one-man show, at the Gummesons Konstgalleri in Stockholm. Around ...


José Pierre

(b Paris, Jan 5, 1900; d Woodbury, CT, Jan 15, 1955).

French painter. Recognized by the late 1930s as a representative of the purest strain of Surrealism in painting, he was the only one of the great painters of that movement to be entirely self-taught. Although he was a fellow pupil at the Lycée Montaigne in Paris of Pierre Matisse, who later became his dealer, he came to painting comparatively late in life, after spending two years with the Merchant Navy. While doing his military service at Lunéville he was deeply affected by his meeting with Jacques Prévert (1900–77), the French poet later associated with Surrealism, who was also a stranger to the joys of life in the barracks. After a long period spent with the African Chasseurs in the south of Tunisia, Tanguy returned to Paris in 1922 and renewed contact with Prévert, also meeting the French writer Marcel Duhamel (1900–66), who provided accommodation for them at 54 Rue du Château. This address later became an important meeting-place for the ...


Lourdes Cirlot

(b Barcelona, Dec 13, 1923; d Barcelona, February 6, 2012).

Spanish Catalan painter, draughtsman, printmaker and sculptor. He was encouraged by his home environment to form an early interest in cultural and intellectual matters, especially in music and literature; his father was a lawyer and his mother came from a family of booksellers. He first came into contact with contemporary art as a teenager through the magazine D’Ací i D’Allà, published in Barcelona, and during the Spanish Civil War (1936–9), while he was still at school, he taught himself to draw and paint. As early as 1942, when he was recovering from a lung infection, he produced pictures clearly influenced by van Gogh and Picasso (e.g. Figure, 1945; Barcelona, Josep Gudiol priv. col., see Cirici, 1971, p. 67); during this period of enforced rest and tranquillity he dedicated most of his time to reading French and Russian novels. In 1944 he began studying law at Barcelona University while also attending evening classes in drawing at the Academia Valls....


Karel Srp

(b Prague, Dec 13, 1900; d Prague, Oct 1, 1951).

Bohemian critic, theorist, collagist and typographer. He was one of the founders of Devětsil (1920–31) and was the spokesman and theorist of the Czechoslovak Surrealist group (1934–51), inviting André Breton and Paul Eluard to Prague in 1935. His early works were influenced by Cubism. During the 1920s and 1930s he was an enthusiastic typographer, while in the 1940s he devoted himself primarily to making Surrealist collages, concentrating in particular on the female nude. As a theorist he was active from 1920, becoming the spokesman of his generation and its main interpreter, editing the journals Disk (1923, 1925) and ReD (Revue Devětsilu; 1927–31). At first interested in utopian prototypes, he developed an interest in Constructivism after a visit to Paris in 1923. In the late 1920s he became an internationally acknowledged theorist of modern architecture. He delivered a cycle of lectures at the Bauhaus on the sociology of architecture (...


Hans-Peter Wittwer

(b Lucerne, Aug 11, 1930; d Berlin, Nov 9, 1985).

Swiss painter, draughtsman and stage designer. He met Serge Stauffer (b 1930) in 1946, with whom he shared an admiration for Dada and Surrealism, and in particular for Hans Arp and Marcel Duchamp. In 1947 they started to exchange letters (some of which survive; see 1985 exh. cat.). Thomkins studied under Max von Moos (b 1903) at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Lucerne (1947–9), although he did not formally enrol at the college. He then attended the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, Paris (1950–51). In 1952 he settled in Rheydt, near Lucerne, where he created the autobiographical figure Schwebsel, analogous to Max Ernst’s Lop-Lop bird.

In 1954 Thomkins moved to Essen. He produced the first Vexierklischees (painted photographs) in 1955 (e.g. Ornamental Asparagus is Re-potted Here, 1956; The Hague, Gemeentemus.) and began to experiment with Lackskins, produced by letting oil paint drip on to a water surface and using paper to pick up the coloured paint as it spread and mixed with the water. In these works he was experimenting with the interplay between manipulation and chance, which he had observed in the work of the Surrealists. In ...



Whitney Chadwick

[Čermínová, Marie]

(b Prague, Sept 21, 1902; d Paris, Nov 9, 1980).

Bohemian painter, draughtsman and illustrator. She attended the School of Fine Arts in Prague (1919–20). In 1922 she met the painter Jindřich Štyrský with whom she collaborated until his death in 1942. In 1923 the couple joined the avant-garde Devětsil group in Prague. The group numbered artists, photographers, writers and architects among its members. During a three-year stay in Paris from 1925 to 1928 Toyen abandoned the Cubist syntax of her early work and began a series of impastoed semi-abstract paintings. Fjord (1928; Prague, N.G., Šternberk Pal.), along with other works of those years, attempted to realize visually the doctrines of poetic Artificialism in which impressions, feelings and images leave their imprint in abstract traces and vibrating colour sensations. Work of this type was given its label by Toyen and Štyrský to differentiate it from their earlier work and from other abstract forms of contemporary art. They exhibited their first Artificialist compositions in Paris at the Galerie de l’Art Contemporain in ...


Ronald Alley

(b Malmédy, Aug 31, 1910; d March 24, 1985).

Belgian painter, sculptor and photographer, active in France. He originally intended to become a waterways and forestry inspector. His interest in art was aroused when he made his first visit to Paris in 1928 and met several artists, including Otto Freundlich. After returning to Malmédy he read the Manifeste du Surréalisme (1924) by André Breton. In 1930 he settled in Paris and made contact with the Surrealist group, attending the first showing of Luis Buñuel’s film L’Age d’or (1931). He attended the Faculté des Lettres of the Sorbonne briefly but soon left to frequent the studios of Montparnasse. About 1933–4 he attended the Ecole des Arts Appliqués for more than a year, studying mainly drawing and photography. In the course of a visit to Austria and the Dalmatian coast in 1933, he visited the island of Hvar where he made some assemblages of stones, which he drew and photographed, for example ...


Lajos Németh

(b Zalaegerszeg, Aug 1908; d Budakeszi, Sept 7, 1941).

Hungarian painter, draughtsman, collagist and printmaker. He studied in 1927–30 at the Art School in Budapest under István Csók. At this stage he was committed to Constructivism, left-wing political ideas and the Munka-kört (workers’ circle), run by Lajos Kassák. From 1930 to 1934 he lived in Paris, where Cubism and Surrealism impressed him, but his greatest interest was Soviet avant-garde film, which influenced the politically committed Surrealist simultaneous photomontages that he made in Paris. In 1935–6 he worked in the Szentendre colony, near Budapest, and in Szigetmonostor with Dezső Korniss: the artistic programme they worked out there was a visual version of Béla Bartók’s musical theory. Through the painterly transformation of the material and spiritual remnants of peasant culture, Vajda wanted to construct a modern art style that reconciled the icons of eastern European art with the western avant-garde. Using elements of Constructivism and Surrealism, and building on the principle of simultaneity, he made drawings and coloured collages using forms drawn from Serbian Orthodox Church traditions and modern trends. In ...


Robert Hoozee


(b Ghent, April 3, 1883; d Ghent, Sept 23, 1939).

Belgian painter and printmaker. He studied at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Ghent (1891–1903) and grew up in an intellectual environment. Like his friend Gustave De Smet, with whom he worked closely, almost until the end of his life, he began his painting career with a compromise between Symbolism and Impressionism, working sometimes in Ghent, sometimes near the artists’ colony at Laethem-Saint-Martin. He painted primarily portraits, interiors and landscapes. During World War I he moved to the Netherlands and stayed there with De Smet and other Flemish artists in Amsterdam and Blaricum successively. In the Netherlands, he became acquainted with Dutch painters including Leo Gestel and the French émigré, Henri Le Fauconnier. Under the influence of Fauvism, Cubism, German Expressionism and Futurism, Van den Berghe painted a series of important canvases, mostly figure compositions and portraits, in which one can note the gradual development of a cubistic-expressionistic formal language. He also made woodcuts such as ...


Margarita González Arredondo

(b Anglés, nr. Girona, Dec 16, 1908; d Mexico City, Oct 8, 1963).

Spanish painter, active in Mexico. She began her studies at the Real Academia de San Fernando in Madrid in 1934 and even in her earliest work showed a tendency to work from the imagination. In 1937, while living in Paris, she married the French poet Benjamin Péret (1899–1959) and through him became involved in the activities of the Surrealists (e.g. The Anatomy Lesson, 1935). The influence of Surrealism is apparent in early works such as Vegetal Puppets (1938; priv. col., see Kaplan 1988, 62), in which the elongated floating figures are formed out of wax dripped onto an unprimed wooden surface. After the occupation of France by Germany, Varo and Péret fled in 1942 to Mexico, where many exiled Surrealists, notably Leonora Carrington and Wolfgang Paalen, were already active.

Varo did not begin to paint full-time until 1953, and her most characteristic work dates from this period. She was greatly influenced by André Breton in her cultivation of dreamlike moods, but she rejected an unswerving reliance on the subconscious in favor of deliberate fantasies. Her painstaking technique suggests a direct debt to medieval art, for example to the Romanesque frescoes of her native Catalonia, especially in the treatment of architectural elements. In typical early works, such as ...


Ruth Rosengarten

(Ricardo da Conceição)

(b Lisbon, 1922; d 1998).

Portuguese sculptor. His early caricature figures have certain affinities with Surrealism in their aggressive humour. In the early 1950s the artist spent a year at the Slade School of Fine Art in London supervised by Reg Butler and Henry Moore. The bronze maquette he submitted to the competition in London for the Monument to an Unknown Political Prisoner won him a prize in 1953. At about that time he began working in terracotta, the medium he subsequently favoured. There are many similarities with ‘primitive’ sculpture: the earth colours; the rounded, stylized forms; the emphasis given to certain parts of the body (such as the feet, buttocks or head) and the mythological overtones present in the fusion of human and animal forms. Nevertheless, the works are pervaded by a sense of irony and humour. Vieira taught at the Escola Superior de Belas Artes in Lisbon.

Jorge Vieira (exh. cat., Oporto, Gal. Nasoni, 1986)...


[ Streng, Henryk ]

(b Lwów [now L’viv, Ukraine], April 17, 1903; d Warsaw, May 23, 1960).

Polish painter . He trained at the Free Academy of Fine Arts in Lwów (now L’viv) (1920–24) and at the Académie Moderne in Paris (1925–6) as a student of Léger, who greatly influenced his first works, such as The Hairdresser (1925; Łódź, Mus. A.). He became friends with André Masson and André Breton and turned to Surrealism, as in Floating in the Sky (1931; Warsaw, N. Mus.). In Lwów he joined the Artes group (1930). His left-wing sympathies manifested themselves in proletarian and revolutionary themes; he depicted barricades, demonstrations and workers, as in Demonstration of Pictures (1933; Łódź, Mus. A.). While in hiding during World War II he painted still-lifes and interiors. Imprisoned in Stutthof he drew and thus documented the horrors of the concentration camp. After the war he took a teaching post at the Higher School of Art in Warsaw. He retired from official art life during the period of Socialist Realism, and in ...