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Distributed for Reaktion Books

The Eye of the Poet

André Breton and the Visual Arts

Illustrated throughout, a revealing look at the life and work of surrealist artist and collector André Breton.
This is the first comprehensive study in English of surrealist leader André Breton’s lifelong commitment to the visual arts. As an essayist, art critic, collector, gallery director, and artist, he actively promoted many painters, from turn-of-the-century Moreau and outsider artists to fellow surrealists like Ernst and Masson.
The book tracks both the development of Breton’s surrealist aesthetics within the Parisian avant-garde art scene and the centrality of art to his political agenda. It also highlights Breton the collector and collagist—the works he displayed in his Paris apartment, ranging from Oceanic masks to African sculptures, paintings to pebbles, are themselves seen as an ever-changing assemblage.

256 pages | 50 color plates, 97 halftones | 7 1/2 x 9 3/4

Biography and Letters


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“An excellent overview of André Breton as the leader of the surrealist movement as a collective experiment with writing and visual art in equal measure that dominated the avant-garde in the twentieth century. This book should become an essential reference for anyone interested in surrealism.”

Kate Conley, professor of French & Francophone studies, William & Mary

“This book manages to be both concise and comprehensive, giving the reader an excellent sense of the scope, variety, and contradictions of Breton’s interactions with artists, art practices, and artworks. Though informed by a deep and detailed scholarly background in the field, it is a lively and engaging read, offering a new perspective on both Breton himself and the vagaries of the visual arts as a category of surrealist activity.”

Johanna Malt, professor of French literature & visual culture, King's College London

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