Collaborative work was a key tenet of surrealist thinking, and a new exhibition at Olivier Malingue’s New Bond Street gallery has been curated to establish a dialogue between artworks and reflect the idea, as outlined in André Breton’s 1924 Surrealist Manifesto, that the canvas is a window into another reality – the unconscious. Surrealism: A Conversation (March 2-May 12) covers the period from 1923 up to the early 1960s, and rare works by Salvador Dalí, Victor Brauner, Max Ernst, René Magritte, Oscar Domínguez, Hans Arp and Yves Tanguy promise to reaffirm the influence these artists had on the development of modern art and the broader cultural climate.
“Having already had the privilege of staging Brauner, Matta and Ernst shows in Paris, it is an even greater pleasure for me to now showcase these important surrealist works in London,” says Malingue. “To arrange them in dialogue in this way allows the works to speak not just to each other but to the viewer, highlighting the theories of collective thought inherent in the surrealist movement – which is, to me, key to grasping the continuing relevance of this groundbreaking cultural movement.”
Evidence of this collaboration between artists, poets and literary figures is illustrated in the Cadavre Exquis pieces on show. Between them the surrealists created a game called Cadavre Exquis, in which one artist would draw a part of the body before folding the paper to conceal their work, and then passing it onto another to continue the drawing. Four of these works are included in the sale. A perfect illustration of this game is a pencil on paper Cadavre Exquis (1925) by Tanguy, André Masson and others, priced at €45,000-€60,000.
Other rare pieces on sale include Magritte’s L’Art de la Conversation (1955), a gouache on paper estimated at $1.1m-$1.4m; in keeping with the theme of the show, it portrays a structure based upon the word rêve – dream. A standout work by Dalí is an oil on canvas called Landscape with Telephones on a Plate (£1.1m-£1.3m) from 1939. The several works by German artist Max Ernst include a rather ominous-looking untitled oil on canvas from 1935-36 (€90,000-€120,000) and La Fleur du Désert (1925), an oil and pencil canvas, priced at €2.8m-€3.5m.