Picasso and Surrealism

After 1927 Picasso's works contain features that may be termed Surrealist. Even though slight tendencies in this direction occasionally are to be found before 1927, they are not yet explored consistently. While it can be shown that the gradual progress toward Cubism in his paintings obeys an inner necessity, Surrealism was an influence from' the outside. Picasso took from it only those elements which could enrich his own art; he used it just as he had used the art of the past or of non-European cultures. Moreover he was influenced less by individual Surrealist painters or their works than by the new vistas they opened, as well as by his association with the leading poets of the movement: for Guillaume Apollinaire, the champion of Cubism, before his untimely death also gave Surrealism its name. Picasso was closely connected with the Surrealist poet Paul Eluard, after the mid-thirties. From about that time he himself wrote Surrealist poems which he planned to publish with Vollard in 1939, accompanied with his own marginal drawings. On the other hand it cannot be denied that leading Surrealist painters, among them his younger compatriot Joan Miró and the German Max Ernst, influenced him to some extent. Picasso even took part in Surrealist exhibitions. But although André Breton, author of the Surrealist manifestoes of 1924 and 1930, includes him in the movement, Picasso is no more a Surrealist than Paul Klee, whose works also contain some Surrealist' elements. But although Picasso's contact with Surrealism is only peripheral, a brief discussion of its nature and aims may be useful at this point.

Like Cubism, Surrealism is based on the breaking up of the natural object. As early as World War I, Dadaism, the Swiss-born progenitor of Surrealism, had uprooted objects from their familiar contexts and broken them up in an arbitrary manner. The Surrealists collected these naturalistic fragments of objects and reassembled them in unusual, indeed paradoxical and perverse, patterns. They combined parts of the human body with pieces of furniture or factory chimneys, flowers with railroad signals or clinical appliances, thus achieving baffling effects. They often used the technique of collage, but not as the Cubists had


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