by André Breton
Originally published in 1928 and augmented throughout the author's life, Surrealism and Painting is the single most important statement ever written on Surrealist art. While many pages have been devoted to visual Surrealism, this is the only book on the subject by the movement's founder and prime theorist. It contains André Breton's seminal treatise on the origins and foundations of artistic Surrealism, with his trenchant assessments of its precursors and practitioners, and his call for the plastic arts to "refer to a purely internal model." Also included are essays--many of them classics in their own right--on Picasso, Duchamp, Kahlo, Dal', Ernst, Masson, Gorky, Picabia, MirA, Magritte, Kandinsky, and others, as well as pieces on Gaulish art, outsider art, and the folk arts of Haiti and Oceania. But above and beyond the subject matter, what makes this book so enduringly compelling is Breton's signature mixture of rigorous erudition and visceral passion, his sense of adventure, and his discoveries of many of Modernism's most prominent figures early in their careers. Long unavailable in English, Surrealism and Painting is not only a supremely exciting work of art criticism, but also one of the three or four indispensable references for any serious discussion of modern art.