No other art movement in history has contained two artists as different as Magritte and Miró. This is because Surrealism was not in origin an art movement, but a philosophical strategy. It was a way of life – a rebellion against the establishment that had given the world the hideous slaughter of the First World War. Instead of trying to analyse the work of the Surrealists, bestselling author and Surrealist artist Desmond Morris concentrates on them as people – as remarkable individuals. What were their personalities, their predilections, their character strengths and flaws? Did they enjoy a social life or were they loners? Were they bold eccentrics or timid recluses?
Drawing on the author’s personal knowledge of the Surrealists, this book captures their life histories, idiosyncrasies and often-complex love lives, vividly illustrated with images of the artists and their works. The arts of Surrealism were both spectacular and international, shaped by the darkest, most irrational workings of the unconscious. Shocking, witty and always entertaining, Morris's tales illuminate the striking variation in approaches to the Surrealist philosophy, both in the artists’ work and in their lives.
'Morris’s eye for detail is a delight. He writes with a pleasingly conversational tone and a dry humour and affection that undercuts the more preposterous behaviour described here … Juicy little nuggets litter the book'
'Gossipy, waspish, biased, score-settling and very entertaining'
'Uproariously funny … [Morris’s] anecdotes are all told with a dry but good-natured humour … these figures make for highly entertaining company'
'Vastly entertaining … Morris has all the scrupulousness of a scientist but he also has the eye of a novelist'