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Oiseau [Bird] 1928

Not on display

This was painted in Cadaqués, a fishing village where the Dalí family had a summer house. The painting literally incorporates the beach: sand is used on the left, while the patch on the right is coarser shingle. The subject of this painting seems to be indebted to André Breton, leader of the Surrealist group. Breton recounted a dream in which he and some friends were swimming in the sea. They startled two birds and one of the group shot at the birds as they flew overhead. By the time they had been washed ashore the birds had changed into creatures resembling a cow or horse.

Glossary Open


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.



  • Acc. No. GMA 3883
  • Medium Oil, sand, pebbles and shingle on board
  • Size 49.00 x 60.00 cm
  • Credit Purchased with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Art Fund 1995