The Museum of Avant-garde

André Breton

France (1896—1966)
Breton was born into a working class family in Normandy. His studied medicine and psychiatry until the start of WWI, when he was assigned to work in the wards in Nantes. After the war Breton joined the Dadaist movement along Man Ray and Duchamp. In 1919 he founded the journal Littérature, and the following year he wrote Les Champs magnetiques authoring the Surrealist automatic writing. In 1924 he published the Surrealism Manifesto and became editor of the surrealist magazine La Révolution surréaliste. In 1930 he joined the Communist party in France and during these years he wrote Nadja – one of his most important works. In 1933 he published the poem Fata Morgana, illustrated in 1939 following a collaboration with Wilfred Lam. Breton escaped WWII finding refuge in the US – where he met his third wife – and in Canada, where he remained until 1946. Back in Paris he mentored a second wave of Surrealism and wrote several pieces including a new Manifeste du Surrealism, L’Art Magique and Constellations. He died in 1966 at the age of 70.