Andre Breton

Le Déclin de la société bourgeoise [The Decline of Bourgeois Society] (About 1935 - 1940)

About this artwork

Best known as a writer and leader of the Surrealist movement, André Breton was, by his own admission, not a gifted artist. However he did experiment with techniques which required a minimum of skill, such as collages and boxed constructions including poems. In this collage he has combined printed material in a humorous and anarchic manner. The Surrealists were committed to the overthrow of bourgeois values and systems, so the phrase pasted onto the picture turns this rare collage into a Bretonian prophecy. It is similar in spirit to the collages of Max Ernst, suggesting a date of the mid to late 1930s for the piece.

see media
  • title: Le Déclin de la société bourgeoise [The Decline of Bourgeois Society]
  • accession number: GMA 3945
  • artist: Andre BretonFrench (1896 - 1966)
  • gallery: On Loan
  • object type: Work on paper
  • subject: Collage Surrealism
  • date created: About 1935 - 1940
  • measurements: Paper size: 13.50 x 8.70 cm (framed: 59.00 x 44.00 cm)
  • credit line: Bequeathed by Gabrielle Keiller 1995
  • copyright: © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2016.
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Andre Breton

Andre Breton

André Breton was the founder and chief theorist of the surrealist movement. Through his study of medicine and work with the insane, he became interested in irrational imagery. After serving as a medical auxiliary during the First World War, he discovered the work of Sigmund Freud. The subjects of psychiatry, the illogical and the unconscious mind appealed greatly to the Surrealists. By 1924 Breton had become a prominent figure in the Parisian avant garde and had gathered around him a group of poets and artists interested in exploring the subconscious. The surrealist movement was launched that year with Breton's 'Manifesto of Surrealism'.