Born at the famous Café Voltaire in Zurich in 1916 from the avant-garde Dada movement, Surrealism aimed to free the creative act from rational thought. Max Ernst, André Breton, Tristan Tzara, Paul Éluard, Philippe Soupault, and Louis Aragon created a movement that spread like wildfire, inspiring new, groundbreaking poets, as well as visual artists like René Magritte and Man Ray. As the editor, Mary Ann Caws, says, “Essential to Surrealist behavior is a constant state of openness, of readiness for whatever occurs, whatever marvelous object we might come across, manifesting itself against the already thought, the already lived.”
Here are the gems of this major, mind-bending aesthetic and political movement: works not only by Aragon, Breton, Dalí, René Char, and Robert Desnos, but also by key, often overlooked female Surrealists— Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, Mina Loy, Alice Rahon, Gisèle Prassinos, and Kay Sage. The Milk Bowl of Feathers provides a grand picture of this revolutionary movement that shocked the world.