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.

Rene Magritte Le Temps Menaçant (Threatening Weather) 1929 © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2017.


Rene Magritte
1898 - 1967
Salvador Dali
1904 - 1989
Marcel Duchamp
1887 - 1968
Max Ernst
1891 - 1976
Georges Hugnet
1906 - 1974
Charles Pulsford
1912 - 1989
Joan Miro
1893 - 1983
Yves Tanguy
1900 - 1955
Alberto Giacometti
1901 - 1966
Sir Roland Penrose
1900 - 1984
Andre Breton
1896 - 1966
Edith Rimmington
1902 - 1986

Glossary terms

  • A radical artistic and literary movement that was a reaction against the cultural climate that supported the First World War. The Dadaists took an anti-establishment attitude, questioning art's status and favouring performance and collage over traditional art techniques. Many Dadaists went on to become involved with Surrealism.

  • A term coined by Marcel Duchamp to describe an existing object that is taken from its original context and regarded as a work of art.

  • 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.

  • A technique in which paper or canvas is placed over a grainy surface and rubbed with a crayon or charcoal. This was often used by Surrealist artists to create chance effects. From the French word ‘frotter’, meaning ‘to rub’.

  • A painting technique by which forms and textures are scraped into the wet surface of the paint. From the French, meaning to scrape or scratch.

  • Or Entartete Kunst. Term coined in the 1930s by the Nazis in Germany to ridicule modern art that didn't fit with Hitler's vision. Exhibitions of such works confiscated from German museums were staged and German artists branded with the term were banned from exhibiting their work.


Surrealism and the Marvellous
Modern Two
Exhibition finished
Surreal Encounters | Collecting the Marvellous
  • 4 June 2016 to 11 September 2016
Modern One
Exhibition finished
Another World | Dalí, Magritte, Miró and the Surrealists
  • 10 July 2010 to 9 January 2011
  • £7
Modern Two