Centre Pompidou hosts in its permanent collection the Breton’s collection. Consisting of many kinds of objects, it has at first glance a hallucinating effect, alternating different colours and materials. Displaying paintings, ethnographic and natural objects, Breton’s collection continues the tradition of the “Curiosity Cabinets”.
The interesting feature of Breton’s collection is a harmonious dialogue between artworks by Picasso, Miro, Giacometti, Rousseau, Kandinsky and exotic objects: ex-votos, masks, anthropomorphic sculptures, skulls, fossils, funerary puppets from New Zeeland, New Guinea, Mexico or Peru. This dialogue must be understood also within the art context of the time, when most of the avanguard movements were interested in primitive and naïve art.(and continued the travel vogue to the far islands). The presence of the “objets trouves” reflects the favourite surrealist practice of finding by chance forms connected to dreams. Breton’s fascination with the exotic can be also linked with the Freudian texts on primitive symbolism.
André Breton’s portaits by Ida Kar, 1960. National Portrait Gallery, London.