“While Dada as a movement disintegrated around 1922, several of the artists and many of their ideas reemerged in the Surrealist movement. Much more centralized and with its headquarters in Paris, Surrealism was founded by the poet André Breton, who acted as the primary spokesman and gatekeeper for the group. It shared with Dada a revulsion for the hypocrisy of bourgeois society and an aim to reveal and revel in the true nature of humanity. As its name suggests, these artists claimed to…”

René Magritte, Belgian, 1898 – 1967; The Fair Captive (La belle captive), 1949; Gouache and pencil on paper; 13 7/8 × 17 7/8 inches; Gift of Alexander Iolas; 1978-144 E; © C. Herscovici / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas; and Menil.org

“The Menil Collection enjoys a well-deserved reputation for its outstanding holdings of artists related to these movements. John and Dominique de Menil commissioned a portrait of Dominique from Max Ernst shortly after they married. They began to collect Surrealism in earnest in the late 1940s under the guidance of dealer Alexandre Iolas, a champion of the movement in the United States. Their holdings, which eventually grew to include over 300 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper, include important examples of such characteristic techniques as automatic drawing, collage, decalcomania, exquisite corpses, and frottage. Three artists form the collection’s core: Victor Brauner, Max Ernst, and René Magritte. They amassed the most significant holdings of these artists’ work in the United States and initiated and funded… more

“In a series of handwritten notes from around 1968, Dominique de Menil listed a range of historical movements, artworks, and figures and traced international, transhistorical networks around the theme of Dream Monuments. Impressively ambitious in scope, the list includes built ruins and funerary monuments; examples of visionary architecture on paper by Étienne-Louis Boullée, Claude Nicolas Ledoux, and Jean-Jacques Lequeu; the entrance portal to the 1900 world’s fair; monuments to corn and tobacco; work depicting ruins by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Hubert Robert, and Giovanni Paolo Panini; projects by architects Philip Johnson, Louis Kahn, and Frank Lloyd Wright; and Surrealist paintings by Giorgio de Chirico, René Magritte, and Max Ernst, among others. The astonishing eclecticism of ideas inspires the question: what exactly is a “dream monument?” The de Menils’ close association with Surrealist artists on this list and their deep, rigorous study of Surrealist literature and… more