Georges Hugnet

French (1906 - 1974)
Georges Hugnet Untitled collages 1960 © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2017.


Born 1906
Died 1974
Nationality French
Birth place Paris
Death place Saint-Martin-de-Ré

Poet, critic and book-lover Georges Hugnet spent his childhood in Argentina, moving to France in 1913. He was involved in the surrealist movement from 1933 to 1938, taking part in activities such as poetry, making collages and creating book covers for the Surrealists. Hugnet used the automatic technique of decalcomania, both on the endpapers of books and as an artistic practice in its own right. Hugnet's beautifully-bound books were considered as equal in value to objects created by the surrealist group and some were exhibited at the Exhibition of Surrealist Objects in Paris in 1936.

Glossary terms

  • 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.

  • Surrealist technique for generating images by applying paint to one surface which is then pressed against another surface to transfer the design. A variation is popular with young school children, who apply paint to paper which is then folded.