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surrealist manifesto, Robert Motherwell, Surrealism, Jackson Pollock, surrealists

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Surrealism, artistic and literary movement that explored and celebrated the realm of dreams and the unconscious mind through the creation of visual art, poetry, and motion pictures. Surrealism was officially launched in Paris, France, in 1924, when French writer Andre Breton wrote the first surrealist manifesto, outlining the ambitions of the new movement. (Breton published two more surrealist manifestoes, in 1930 and 1942.) The movement soon spread to other parts of Europe and to North and South America. Among surrealismís most important contributions was the invention of new artistic techniques that tapped into the artistís unconscious mind.

Influence of Surrealism

Surrealism ranks among the most important and influential European art movements of the first half of the 20th century. Many surrealists, including Breton, Masson, Ernst, and Matta, spent time in the United States during World War II (1939-1945). Their presence proved pivotal to the artistic development of the American abstract expressionist painters, particularly to the work of Arshile Gorky, Robert Motherwell, and Jackson Pollock. Surrealism also had a lasting influence on the art of Latin America, in the works of artists such as Frida Kahlo of Mexico and Wifredo Lam of Cuba.


Cernuschi, Claude, B.A., M.A., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Boston College; Author of "Jackson Pollock: Meaning and Significance", "Not an Illustration", "But the Equivalent: A Cognitive Approach to Abstract Expressionism", and other books.

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