The artists who became the surrealists gathered around poet Andre
Breton in Paris in the 1920's. The first Surrealist Manifesto was published in 1924,
declaring the artistic goals of the organization, especially as conceived by Breton. For
Breton, surrealism was a creative method that employed many of the ideas of Sigmund Freud, the Austrian doctor who developed psychoanalysis as a method of treating mental illness. The basic strategy for Breton was automatism, a process for tapping the unconscious by writing in a trancelike state and recording the involuntary images that emerged. Taking his cue from the writings of Freud, Breton believed that dreams were the natural expression of the unconscious mind. Automatism, irrational thought associations, hallucinations, and the recollection of dream images offered away to liberate the creative mind from the bonds of logic and reason.
Surrealism, like dada, began primarily as a literary movement. However, artists did organize themselves under the name of surrealism and staged a series of exhibitions.
Gradually, the artists moved away from the influence of Breton and developed a broader appeal to artists and viewers alike. Dali, Salvador (1904-1989), was a surrealist painter. His unusual pictures made him one of the most publicized figures in modern art.
Dali called his surrealist paintings "hand-painted dream photographs." The pictures show strange, often nightmarish combinations of precisely detailed figures and objects. Many of his paintings have strong sexual associations. The barren landscapes and fantastic rock formations of the Spanish region of Catalonia, where Dali was born, appear in a number of his works. Dali's Gala and the Angelus of Millet Immediately Preceding the Arrival of the Conic Anamorphous illustrates his realistic technique and his use of complicated, puzzling symbols. Dali also created many etchings and lithographs. He designed many of these prints to illustrate books.
Salvador Felipe Jacinto...