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Cadavre exquis [Exquisite Corpse]
© ADAGP, Paris / ARS, NY and DACS, London 2015

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Cadavre exquis [Exquisite Corpse] 9 February 1938

Not on display

The Cadavre Exquis (Exquisite Corpse) was a favourite surrealist game from the mid-1920s onwards. It usually involved three or four participants who added to a drawing, collage or sentence, without seeing what the others had already done. This work is one of several made by Breton, his second wife Jacqueline Lamba, and Yves Tanguy, while on a weekend holiday together in February 1938. However, this piece might have been made collaboratively rather than by folding the paper to hide the previous contribution, since there are no fold lines on the paper.

Glossary Open


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.


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.

Collage, Surrealism


  • Acc. No. GMA 3946
  • Medium Collage on paper, folded in half
  • Size 31.00 x 21.20 cm (unfolded 31.00 x 42.20 cm)
  • Credit Bequeathed by Gabrielle Keiller 1995