Le Déclin de la société bourgeoisie
© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2006

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Le Déclin de la société bourgeoisie about 1935 - 1940
Best known as a writer and leader of the Surrealist movement, André Breton was, by his own admission, not a gifted artist. However he did experiment with techniques which required a minimum of skill, such as collages and boxed constructions including poems. In this collage he has combined printed material in a humorous and anarchic manner. The Surrealists were committed to the overthrow of bourgeois values and systems, so the phrase pasted onto the picture turns this rare collage into a Bretonian prophecy. It is similar in spirit to the collages of Max Ernst, suggesting a date of the mid to late 1930s for the piece.

Glossary Open

Bourgeois

Belonging to the middle class or conforming to its standards and conventions. In Marxism, it refers specifically to property-owners. It derives from the French word for a citizen of a town.

Collage

An image constructed from found materials, such as photographs, paper or fabric, glued to a surface, sometimes with additional painted or drawn elements. It is an art form particularly associated with Dada and Surrealism.

Surrealism

A literary and artistic movement founded by the poet André Breton in 1924. Many of the associated artists, such as Max Ernst and Jean Arp, had previously been involved with Dadaism. The movement sought to challenge conventions through the exploration of the subconscious mind, invoking the power of dreams and elements of chance. Cultural hierarchies were challenged by the combination of diverse elements in collages and sculptural assemblages. The movement is also notable for the collaborations between artists and writers evident in the Surrealists' many publications.

Bourgeois, Collage, Surrealism

Details

  • Acc. No. GMA 3945
  • Medium Collage on paper
  • Size Paper size: 13.50 x 8.70 cm (framed: 59.00 x 44.00 cm)
  • Credit Bequeathed by Gabrielle Keiller 1995