Oil on canvas
In 2003, the donation by Aube and Oona Elléouët of the Portrait of André Breton was a stunning addition to the portrayal of the early years of the dawn of Surrealism in Paris.
Romanian-born Victor Brauner settled in Paris in 1930. His neighbour, Yves Tanguy, introduced him to Breton and the Surrealists at the café on the place Blanche in the autumn of 1933. To mark his membership of the group which would last until 1948, the following year Breton prefaced Brauner’s first exhibition at the Pierre Gallery in the following year. The portrait was perhaps painted at this time, like those of Benjamin Péret (which came into the museum’s possession via the Jacqueline Brauner bequest) and of René Char (private collection) , both also dated 1934. Brauner gives the face a hallucinatory appearance as if to place it “in the very disturbing visual circle in which the apparition fights in the twilight with appearance”, conjured up by Breton in his preface.