By Breton, André; Matthews, J. H.; Breton, André

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Sample text

Yet he neglected to say, either in 1927 or in 1928 when Le Surréalisme et la peinture first appeared, what he counted on Picabia to do. One wonders whether the painter whose inner landscapes had impressed Breton only five years prior to the appearance of his name in La Révolution surréaliste had returned from "the pole inside himself," only too glad to be back in the old world again, or whether, from where Breton now took his stance, it looked as though the artist had failed to locate his pole after all, or had turned back before reaching it.

Even so, the impression communicated in his 1919 letter to Tzara only confirms the published evidence. Breton spoke of his admiration for Picabia as something needing no defense and calling for no explanation. Those close to him and those, too, sharing his ideas from afar would know why he thought so highly of Picabia. What, though, of the attitude reflected in the letters he wrote to Francis Picabia himself? André Breton addressed Picabia on occasion in terms which other circumstances would have led us to interpret without hesitation as proof of amorous attachment.

Such an interpretation, then, tends to be rigidly mechanical. Accepting it without question, we lose sight of the hesitations and soul-searching which brought André Breton to the point where the idea of surrealism began taking shape in his mind. Asked what kind of texts he was writing as a neophyte poet, Breton explained in an interview granted Madeleine Chapsal for L'Express (August 9, 1962), "Mallarmé exerted the greatest influence over me at that time, so I was writing poems, or prose, in Mallarmean form.

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