André Breton Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (3)  | Trivia (1)

Overview (3)

Born in Tinchebray, Orne, France
Died in Paris, France
Nicknames Magus of Surrealism
Arbiter of Surrealism

Mini Bio (1)

André Breton, one of the founders of Surrealism who studied to be a medical doctor and survived the First World War, became a writer and applied his knowledge of medicine and psychiatry to create innovative literature and art.

He was born on February 18, 1896, in Tichebray, Normandy, France. He was the only child in the family of a government clerk and a shopkeeper. In 1914 Breton enrolled in Sorbonne Medical School. There he studied neurology and psychiatry and was highly influenced by the writings of Sigmund Freud. In 1915 he was drafted in the First World War and served in the neurological ward at a military hospital. There he met Guillaume Apollinaire and they became close friends.

Guillaume Apollinaire introduced him to Philippe Soupault and Louis Aragon. They continued development of Surrealism which was initially named and formulated by Guillaume Apollinaire. In 1919 Breton and Philippe Soupault published the 'Les Champs Magnétiques' (The Magnetic Fields) written in the style of automatic writing. In 1921 he met Sigmund Freud in Vienna. Breton used Freudian method to psychoanalyze his patients. He also applied his knowledge of medicine and psychiatry to analyze literature and art. His analyzing of artists as well as his patients, whose disturbed images he found remarkable, allowed Breton to define Surrealism as "pure psychic automatism, by which an attempt is made to express the true functioning of thought" in writing or in any other manner. In 1924 Breton became editor of 'La Revolution surrealiste' and published the 'Manifeste du Surréalisme' (The Surrealist Manifesto). At that time he was joined by director 'Louis Buñuel' and artist Salvador Dalí.

From 1927-1935 Breton was a member of the French Communist Party from which he was expelled after expressing his disgust with Joseph Stalin and mass executions of intellectuals in the USSR. However, he continued his association with such prominent communists as Leon Trotsky and artist Diego Rivera. The three were traveling together and remained friends during the 1930's. They co-wrote a Manifesto of Independent Revolitionary Art which called for complete freedom of art. During the Second World War Breton became a refugee in the United States. In 1941 he came to New York and founded the magazine VVV with Marcel Duchamp and Max Ernst. In 1942 Breton gave a lecture at Yale on Surrealism helped organize the important Surrealist Exhibition at Yale, which stimulated development of the American Pop-Art. At that time his friendship with Salvador Dalí suffered the first blow, because Dali declared: "I am Surrealism!" After WWII Breton returned to France and continued writing poetry and prose.

André Breton's works include the novels Nadja (1928) and L'Amour Fou (1937), as well as essays and collections of poetry, of which his last work, 'Constellations' (1959), paralleled his poems with the art of Joan Miró. Breton was also known for his risqué and unusual humorous behavior. He staged humorous fights at parties and invented various grotesque jokes, which were explained by him as an essential part of Surrealism, amongst the boring world, in which he was rivaled by Salvador Dalí. Breton was widely regarded as the founder of Surrealism. He died of a lung disease on September 28, 1966, in Paris, and was laid to rest in Cimetiere des Batignolles in Paris, France.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov

Spouse (3)

Elisabeth Bindhoff (20 August 1945 - 28 September 1966) ( his death)
Jacqueline Lamba (August 1934 - ?) ( divorced) ( 1 child)
Simone Kahn (September 1921 - 1931) ( divorced)

Trivia (1)

Child (second marriage): Aube

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