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The Religious Affiliation of Surrealist Painter
Salvador Dali


From: John Baxter, Bunuel, Carroll & Graf Publishers: New York City (1994), page 238:
If Communism had not changed with the post-war world, neither had Surrealism. Most of the pre-war brotherhood were purged or dead. Breton's 1950 Almanach Surrealiste du Demi-Siecle included work by only one other pre-war member, the undeviatingly strict Peret, with a few De Chirico and Ernst illustrations, though Ernst too would be purged in 1955, dismissed by Breton as 'a money-grubbing art dealer', like Dali, for winning the Venice Biennale.

When Bunuel called on Breton, he found him preoccupied with doctrinal squabbles and his credentials as a pioneer. Dalis' exploitation of Surrealism's decorative and playful aspects at the expense of the political and literary meant that the world regarded him and not Breton as the true pop of Surrealism. Worse, Dali had just announced his conversion to Catholicism, promising, 'My painting in future will be an amalgam of my Surrealist experience and the classicism of the Pre-Raphaelites and the Renaissance.'

In the lithograph Sometimes I Spit for Pleasure on the Portrait of my Mother, Dali had painted the words of the title over an outline of the Christ of the Sacred Heart. For the Almanach, Breton reproduced the picture with the addition of a newspaper report of Dali's conversion, and called the piece L'Amalgame. An apostasy [from Surrealism] that would once have stirred him to a furious pamphlet provoked no more than this amused shrug. As he lamented to Luis in 1955, 'It's sad, but it's no longer possible to scandalize anybody.'

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Webpage created 25 June 2005. Last modified 3 December 2005.
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