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Surrealism in the James C Sourris, AM, Collection of Rare Books

Cover of Minotaure

Cover of Minotaure (no.9, 1936), illustration by Salvador Dalí

Cover of La Révolution surréaliste

Cover of La Révolution surréaliste (no.1, 1 December 1924)

An extraordinary collection of surrealist documentary material, forms part of the James C Sourris, AM, Collection of Rare Books, held in the Queensland Art Gallery Research Library. The collection includes original manifestos, books, magazines and exhibition catalogues dating from 1920 to 1965, and profiles a number of significant documents central to Surrealism.

Surrealism was initially a literary movement that set out to radically alter intellectual endeavour and, through this, transform society. The original members of the group — the poets André Breton, Paul Éluard, Louis Aragon and Robert Desnos — reacted against prevalent literary styles by experimenting with new literary forms, as conventional structures of language were considered inadequate to describe the complexities of thought and the increasingly fragmented nature of experience in the first decades of the twentieth century.

A highlight of the collection is a complete set (13 issues) of the original Minotaure journal, the most iconic of the surrealist periodicals. Minotaure reveals the interaction between the visual arts, science and literature, and boast an impressive list of contributors — Breton, Pablo Picasso, Éluard, Joan Miró, Marc Chagall, Georges Bataille, René Magritte, Jacques Lacan, Henri Matisse, Raymond Queneau, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Giorgio De Chirico, Salvador Dalí, Alberto Giacometti, Max Ernst, Diego Rivera, André Masson, Balthus, Roberto Matta, Hans Bellmer, Jean Arp, Brassaï and Vasili Kandinsky.

Other publications in the collection include: Le Manifeste du surréalisme, La Révolution surréaliste (4 issues), Les champs magnétiques, Poisson soluble, The First Papers of Surrealism, and complete sets of the magazines: Le Surréalisme au service de la Révolution, Le surréalisme, même and La Brèche: Action surréaliste.

The James C Sourris, AM, Collection of Rare Books. Purchased with funds from James C Sourris, AM, through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation 2011. Collection: Queensland Art Gallery Research Library

The collection is searchable through the Library's online catalogue and is available for use by appointment. Please contact the Research Library on 07 3842 9557 or library@qagoma.qld.gov.au