What Is Surrealism?
The Icons of Surrealism
Though Surrealism is indeed most associated with such flamboyant and irreverent figures as Dalí, Breton recruited a wide group of artists and intellectuals already active in Paris to write for and exhibit under his banner.
Building on the anti-rational tradition of Dada, Surrealism counted among its members such major Dada figures as Tristan Tzara, Francis Picabia, Jean Arp, Max Ernst, and Marcel Duchamp. By 1924, this group was augmented by other artists and literary figures, including the writers Paul Éluard, Robert Desnos, Georges Bataille, and Antonin Artaud; the painters Joan Miró and Yves Tanguy; the sculptors Alberto Giacometti and Meret Oppenheim; and the filmmakers René Clair, Jean Cocteau, and Luis Buñuel.
But Breton was notoriously fickle about who he admitted to the movement, and he had a habit of excommunicating members who he felt no longer shared his particular view of Surrealism. Desnos and Masson, for example, were tossed out of the group via Breton’s “Second Manifesto of Surrealism” in 1930 for their unwillingness to support his political aims. Bataille, whose Surrealist viewpoint differed considerably from Breton’s, went on to form his own influential splinter group, the College of Sociology, which published journals and held exhibitions throughout the 1930s.