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Modern Artists in Surrealism

Below are biographies and analysis of the work of the artists central to the Surrealism movement. Read more about the movement on the Surrealism Overview page.

Surrealism: 30 of 186 Total Artists

Arp, Hans (Jean)

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Hans Arp (also known as Jean Arp) incorporated chance, randomness, and organic forms into his sculptures, paintings, and collages. He was involved with Zurich Dada, Surrealism, and the Abstraction-Creation movement.

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Baziotes, William

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William Baziotes was a first generation Abstract Expressionist painter who worked in a Surrealist, lyrical style.

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Bellmer, Hans

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Hans Bellmer was a twentieth-century German avant-garde photographer and draughtsman, commonly associated with the Surrealism movement. Bellmer is best known for creating a series of pubescent female dolls in the 1930s, which were designed as a direct criticism of Nazi-controlled Germany and its idealization of the perfect human form. Bellmer eventually fled Germany for Paris and was embraced by Breton and the French Surrealists.

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Bourgeois, Louise

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Louise Bourgeois is a French contemporary artist whose work adds a feminist perspective to Surrealism's themes of sex, childhood, and the uncanny. She is best known for her installation 'Cells' and her large-scale spider sculptures.

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Braque, Georges

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Georges Braque was a modern French painter who, along with Pablo Picasso, developed analytic Cubism and Cubist collage in the early twentieth century.

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Breton, Andre

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André Breton, author of the 1924 Surrealist Manifesto, was an influential theorizer of both Dada and Surrealism. Born in France, he emigrated to New York during World War II, where he greatly influenced the Abstract Expressionists.

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Calder, Alexander

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Alexander Calder was an American artist who made important contributions to abstract sculpture, hanging mobiles, and kinetic art. His work reflects both modern and Surrealist influences.

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Carrington, Leonora

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Leonora Carrington art is often dreamlike imagery with highly detailed compositions of fantastical creatures in otherworldly settings Her themes of metamorphosis and magic, as well as its frequent whimsy, have given it an enduring appeal.

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Cornell, Joseph

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Joseph Cornell was an American artist, best known for his collage work and "shadow boxes," which were highly complex diorama-like constructions. Cornell incorporated found objects, old photos, newspaper clippings and other objects into these boxes, resulting in uniquely surreal, three-dimensional worlds. Cornell was one of the few American artists associated with Surrealism.

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Dali, Salvador

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Salvador DalĂ­ was a Spanish Surrealist painter who combined a hyperrealist style with dream-like, sexualized subject matter. His collaborations with Hollywood and commercial ventures, alongside his notoriously dramatic personality, earned him scorn from some Surrealist colleagues.

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De Chirico, Giorgio

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Giorgio de Chirico was a Greek-Italian painter and sculptor commonly associated with Surrealism. Initially discovered by Picasso and Apollinaire in France, de Chirico's best-known Surrealist paintings incorporated metaphysical subject matter and sculptural still-life. Instead of land- or cityscapes, de Chirico's art is more emblematic of a dreamscape.

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Delvaux, Paul

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Paul Delvaux was a Belgian Surrealist interested in exploring humanity and the hidden recesses of the subconscious by creating eerie scenes with characters such as nude women and suited men in bowler hats.

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Duchamp, Marcel

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The French artist Marcel Duchamp was an instrumental figure in the avant-garde art worlds of Paris and New York. Moving through Dada, Surrealism, readymades, sculpture, and installation, his work involves conceptual play and an implicit attack on bourgeois art sensibilities.

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Ernst, Max

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Max Ernst was a German Dadaist and Surrealist whose paintings and collages combine dream-like realism, automatic techniques, and eerie subject matter.

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Giacometti, Alberto

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The Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti created semi-abstract sculptures that took up themes of violence, sex, and Surrealism. His famous later work is characterized by towering, elongated figures in bronze.

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Gorky, Arshile

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Arshile Gorky was an Armenian-born American painter and was a major influence on the development of Abstract Expressionism. In his own art he fused elements of Cubism, Surrealism and Expressionism, and was close with key figures central to New York's burgeoning abstrct art scene, such as John Graham, Stuart Davis and Willem de Kooning.

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Graham, John

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John Graham was a Ukrainian-born American painter and a key figure in the development of Abstract Expressionism. Never adopting a singular style in his own art, Graham tutored many young abstract artists on the tenets of Cubism and Surrealism, of which he was an expert. Willem de Kooning credited Graham as the person who discovered Jackson Pollock.

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Hepworth, Barbara

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Barbara Hepworth was an English sculptor. She helped develop modern sculpture, along with her contemporaries Henry Moore and Naum Gabo. She won a scholarship and studied at the Leeds School of Art in 1920, where she met Moore.Feminist Art Modern Sculpture Surrealism Abstraction British

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Kahlo, Frida

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Frida Kahlo is a twentieth-century Mexican artist whose work has a strong autobiographical component as it addresses issues of feminism and nationalism. Her work is often associated with Surrealism and she is best known for her many, often uncanny self-portraits.

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Kandinsky, Wassily

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A member of the German Expressionist group Der Blaue Reiter, and later a teacher at the Bauhaus, Kandinsky is best known for his pioneering breakthrough into expressive abstraction in 1913. His work prefigures that of the American Abstract Expressionists.

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Surrealism: 30 of 186 Total Artists



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