In Montparnasse: The Emergence of Surrealism in Paris, from Duchamp to Dalí

Penguin Pr. Aug. 2019. 320p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781101981177. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781101981184. BIOG
From about 1911 onward, notes Roe (In Montmartre: Picasso, Matisse and the Birth of Modernist Art), the artistic center of Paris had begun to shift from Montmartre to the galleries, studios, and cafés of Montparnasse. In this lively and colorful new book (released in the UK in 2018), the author takes readers there, to experience the emergence of the surrealist movement in not only art (Marcel Duchamp, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, Man Ray, Amedeo Modigliani, Giorgio di Chirico) but also literature and poetry (André Breton, Guillaume Apollinaire), theater (Jean Cocteau), music (Erik Satie, Igor Stravinsky), and dance (Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes). It was a wild and crazy time in the arts, with some wild and crazy personalities. It was also a dark time: the looming war, artists’ poverty as well as success, vicious feuds among artists, and the thoughtless, often cruel, treatment of their wives, girlfriends, and models.
VERDICT Of the many books published on surrealism, Roe’s has a breadth of coverage and vivacity of observation that make it special. Art lovers will find much to appreciate and ponder, and Francophiles will enjoy this distinctive “tour.”
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