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André Breton

1896 Tinchebray
1966 Paris

The writer André Breton is regarded as the founder of Surrealism. He was born 18th February 1896 in Tinchebray (Normandy). In 1900, his family moved to Paris, where he attended school and later studied medicine. André Breton showed an interest in verse and literature from a young age.
In 1914, André Breton’s verse was published for the first time in "La Phalange". One year later, he was called up for medical service. During this time, he began studying the works of Sigmund Freud. In 1917, Breton was moved back to Paris, where he met the author Guillame Apollinaire and read Lautréamont’s works. Prior to this, Breton ended his studies early and decided to embark on a career as a freelance writer.
In 1919 he co-founded the journal "Littérature", which was associated with Dada. A few years later, the Dada movement broke up. In 1924, André Breton wrote the "Surrealist Manifesto" and founded the journal "La Revolution Surrealiste". His theories explained the spontaneous effect of subconsciousness, the omnipotence of dreams and the selflessness of thoughts about the content of Surrealist art. The Surrealist group moved ideologically closer to Communism and in 1927, Breton joined the KPF.
During the following year, Breton composed "Le Surréalisme et la Peinture" within which he searched for a theoretical justification for Surrealist painting. In the "Second Surrealist Manifesto" (1930), he attempted to re-define the movement as social-revolutionary. The Surrealists began to question the KPF’s politics, and in 1935, the group broke with the party. Breton wrote a manifesto promoting an independent revolutionary art. In 1938, he organised the first international Surrealist exhibition in Paris. Two years later, André Breton was forced to flee from the German army. In New York, he met Marcel Duchamp, and Max Ernst.
After the war, he returned to Paris. In the following years, Breton promoted the Surrealist movement’s aims and organised the last large-scale Surrealist exhibition.
André Breton died in Paris on 28th September 1966.

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