Surrealist Artists

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French writer and poet André Breton founded Surrealism which became best known for its visual artworks and writings aimed at revolutionizing human experience, in its personal, cultural, social, and political aspects. Surrealist artists painted unnerving and illogical scenes with photographic precision and developed painting techniques that allowed the unconscious to express itself. Spanish painter Salvador Dalí is one of the best known figures of the Surrealist movement and is credited with creating the painting ‘The Persistence of Memory’, the most recognizable work of the movement which employs "the exactitude of realist painting techniques". Another influential surrealist artist was Rene Magritte who painted ‘The Son of Man’ as a self-portrait with the hope of conveying important messages about the individual. His paintings striped the signs and symbols of their original meaning and were counted amongst the most iconic surrealist paintings. German painter and sculptor Max Ernst was also a primary pioneer of the Dada movement and Surrealism. He collaborated with other artists like Marcel Duchamp and Marc Chagall during the World War II and helped inspire the development of Abstract expressionism. This section provides you information about the life and works of famous Surrealist artists.
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 1 
Frida Kahlo
(Mexican Painter Known for Her Brilliantly Coloured Self-Portraits)
Frida Kahlo
6
Birthdate: July 6, 1907
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Coyoacán, Mexico City, Mexico
Died: July 13, 1954

Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo, was known for her many portraits and self-portraits. Her work is said to have been inspired by the nature, artifacts and popular culture of Mexico. Her work was not much known until the late 1970s, when it was rediscovered by art historians and political activists. By early 1990s, she became a recognized figure in art history.

 2 
Pablo Picasso
(One of the Most Influential Artists of the 20th Century and Co-Founder of the 'Cubist Movement')
Pablo Picasso
4
Birthdate: October 25, 1881
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Málaga, Spain
Died: April 8, 1973

Pablo Picasso was a renowned artist whose paintings sell by millions of dollars at auctions even today, many years after his death. With masterful strokes, attractive shades and rich textures, Picasso created some of the most visually impressive arts of the 20th century. While exploring new styles and experimenting with different techniques, Picasso co-founded Cubist art style and co-invented collage.

 3 
Rene Magritte
(Belgian Surrealist Artist, Who Became Well Known for Creating a Number of Witty and Thought-Provoking Images)
Rene Magritte
5
Birthdate: November 21, 1898
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lessines, Belgium
Died: August 15, 1967
Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte is remembered for his art that displayed alternate perceptions of reality. His creations were influenced by elements of pop art and minimalist art. Some of his most notable works were The Empire of Light and Les Amants. The Magritte Museum is dedicated to his work.
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 4 
Paul Klee
(Swiss-born German Artist Whose Work Exhibited Shades of 'Expressionism', 'Cubism', and 'Surrealism')
Paul Klee
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Birthdate: December 18, 1879
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Münchenbuchsee, Switzerland
Died: May 29, 1940
The father of abstract art, Paul Klee’s works contained elements of surrealism, cubism, and expressionism, but they were not part of any specific school. He was also a skilled violinist and an avid reader. He also taught at the Bauhaus and experimented with various media, such as oil, watercolor, and ink.
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 5 
Joan Miró
(Spanish Painter, Sculptor and Ceramicist Known for His work in ‘Surrealism’, ‘Fauvism’ and ‘Expressionism’)
Joan Miró
3
Birthdate: April 20, 1893
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
Died: December 25, 1983

Born to an artisan father in Catalan, Joan Miró was allowed to attend art school after falling sick working as a clerk. Known for combining surrealism and abstract art, he experimented with various forms of art, including paintings, sculptures, and ceramics, and created masterpieces such as The Farm.

 6 
Max Ernst
(Primary Pioneer of the 'Dada Movement' and 'Surrealism' Known for His Work 'A Week of Kindness')
Max Ernst
3
Birthdate: April 2, 1891
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brühl, Germany
Died: April 1, 1976

Max Ernst was a German painter, graphic artist, sculptor, and poet. A pioneer of the Dada movement, Ernst played an important role in popularizing surrealism during the early-20th century. He is also credited with inventing a couple of techniques, namely frottage and grattage. In 2005, the Max Ernst Museum was opened in his honor in Brühl, Germany.

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 7 
Dora Maar
(French Photographer and Painter Known for Her Nine-Year Relationship with 'Pablo Picasso')
Dora Maar
5
Birthdate: November 22, 1907
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: July 16, 1997

Born to a French mother and a Croatian father, Dora Maar spent her childhood in Argentina and later studied art in Paris. The renowned surrealist artist and photographer later gained fame as Pablo Picasso’s lover and muse, and was featured in his paintings such as Weeping Woman.

 8 
Louise Bourgeois
(Artist Best Known for Her Large-Scale Sculpture and Installation Art)
Louise Bourgeois
3
Birthdate: December 25, 1911
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 31, 2010

Louise Bourgeois was a French-American artist best remembered for her large-scale installation art and sculpture. Also a prolific printmaker and painter, Bourgeois explored a variety of themes, such as sexuality and death. In 1997, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts. In 2009, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

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 9 
Leonora Carrington
(Mexican Surrealist Painter and Novelist)
Leonora Carrington
3
Birthdate: April 6, 1917
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Clayton-le-Woods, Lancashire, England
Died: May 25, 2011

Leonora Carrington was a Mexican artist, novelist, and surrealist painter. During the 1970s, Carrington played an important role in Mexico's women's liberation movement as she was one of the founding members of the movement. Carrington, who was fascinated by symbolism and myth, studied alchemy, Popol Vuh, post-classic Mayan mystical writings, and the kabbalah.

 10 
Claude Cahun
(French Photographer Known for Her Self-Portraits and Tableaux That Incorporated a Surrealist Style and Gender Fluidity)
Claude Cahun
3
Birthdate: October 25, 1894
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nantes, France
Died: December 8, 1954

Claude Cahun was a French sculptor, surrealist photographer, and writer. He is best remembered for his work as a self-portraitist and writer. Apart from his primary career, Claude Cahun also played a major role in the Second World War, serving as a propagandist and resistance worker.

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 11 
Paul Éluard
3
Birthdate: December 14, 1895
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Saint-Denis, France
Died: November 18, 1952
 12 
Desmond Morris
(English Ethologist, Zoologist, Author, and Surrealist Painter)
Desmond Morris
3
Birthdate: January 24, 1928
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Purton, Wiltshire, England

Desmond Morris is an English ethologist, zoologist, author, and surrealist painter. He is well-known for his book The Naked Ape and for his TV shows, such as Zoo Time. Desmond Morris is also known for his work as the writer and presenter of the popular BBC documentary The Human Animal.

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 13 
Remedios Varo
(Spanish-Born Mexican Surrealist Artist)
Remedios Varo
3
Birthdate: December 16, 1908
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Anglès, Spain
Died: October 8, 1963

A significant figure of the Mexican surrealist movement, artist Remedios Varo was taught technical drawing by her hydraulics engineer father. Born in Spain, she later fled to France with her lover, poet Benjamin Péret, and then to Mexico to escape Nazism. She was also interested in sacred geometry and alchemy.

 14 
James Ensor
(Belgian Expressionist Painter)
James Ensor
3
Birthdate: April 13, 1860
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ostend, Belgium
Died: November 19, 1949

Painter and printmaker James Ensor spent most of his life in the North Sea fishing port of Ostend, away from hustle-bustle of big cities. Yet, he left a significant influence on every aspect of the modernist movement; from symbolism and expressionism to dada and surrealism; also a signature style that involved radical distortion of form, muddled surface and riotous color.  

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 15 
Yves Tanguy
(Painter)
Yves Tanguy
2
Birthdate: January 5, 1900
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: January 15, 1955
 16 
Dorothea Tanning
(American Surrealist Artist)
Dorothea Tanning
2
Birthdate: August 25, 1910
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Galesburg, Illinois, United States
Died: January 31, 2012

Remembered for her surrealist paintings, sculptor and painter Dorothea Margaret Tanning seemed to have recreated her visions and dreams through her art. Most of her works showcase unreal situations, with motifs such as gigantic flowers and doors. Her iconic installation Hôtel du Pavot, Chambre 202 showcases her sculpting skills.

 17 
Roberto Matta
(Surrealist Painter)
Roberto Matta
2
Birthdate: November 11, 1911
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Santiago
Died: November 23, 2002

Legendary Chilean painter Roberto Matta is remembered as a significant figure of the abstract expressionist and surrealist art of the 20th century. The Praemium Imperiale-winning artist had initially studied architecture in Santiago and had then worked for Le Corbusier in Paris. His inscape works were influenced by Freud’s psychoanalysis.

 18 
Méret Oppenheim
(Surrealist artist and photographer)
Méret Oppenheim
2
Birthdate: October 6, 1913
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: November 15, 1985
Méret Oppenheim is best remembered for her surrealist art such as Object: Breakfast in Fur. She also modeled for artists. Throughout her career, she had created furniture, jewelry, and even poetry. In her performance piece Spring Feast, she laid out a banquet on top of a nude woman.
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 19 
Robert Desnos
2
Birthdate: July 4, 1900
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: June 8, 1945
 20 
Vladimir Kush
(Painter)
Vladimir Kush
62
Birthdate: 1965 AD
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

Russian surrealist painter Vladimir Kush now owns his own gallery in Hawaii. Initially a street artist, he now sells his own art prints and calls himself a Metaphorical Realist. He once sued pop star Ariana Grande for using his imagery in her video God Is a Woman.

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 21 
Leonor Fini
(Painter)
Leonor Fini
2
Birthdate: August 30, 1907
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Died: January 18, 1996
 22 
André Masson
(Former Surrealist painter)
André Masson
2
Birthdate: January 4, 1896
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Balagny-sur-Thérain, France
Died: October 28, 1987
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 23 
Mati Klarwein
(Painter)
Mati Klarwein
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Birthdate: April 9, 1932
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: March 7, 2002
 24 
Pavel Tchelitchew
1
Birthdate: October 3, 1898
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dubrovka, Russia
Died: July 31, 1957

Pavel Tchelitchew was a Russian-born painter, costume designer, and set designer. As a painter, he was best remembered for his surrealist works. His works are currently preserved at places like the Art Institute of Chicago, the Courtauld Institute of Art, the National Gallery of Art, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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 25 
Kay Sage
(Artist)
Kay Sage
1
Birthdate: June 25, 1898
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Watervliet, New York, United States
Died: January 8, 1963
 26 
Bob Kaufman
1
Birthdate: April 18, 1925
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died: January 12, 1986
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 27 
Felix Nussbaum
1
Birthdate: December 11, 1904
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Osnabrück, Germany
Died: August 9, 1944
 28 
Eileen Agar
(British Artist Known for Her Surrealist Paintings, Collages, and Objects)
Eileen Agar
1
Birthdate: December 1, 1899
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Died: November 7, 1991

Eileen Agar was a British-Argentinian photographer and painter best remembered for her association with the Surrealist movement. In 1936, Agar became the only woman to exhibit her works at the International Surrealist Exhibition in London after her work was recommended by Paul Nash to the organizers of the exhibition, Herbert Read and Roland Penrose.

 29 
Marcel Janco
(Romanian-Israeli Visual Artist and Architect & the Co-Founder of 'Dadaism')
Marcel Janco
1
Birthdate: May 24, 1895
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bucharest, Romania
Died: April 21, 1984

Widely remembered as the co-inventor of Dadaism and a pioneering figure of Constructivism, Marcel Janco was a Romanian-Israeli visual artist and architect. He is also said to have contributed to the "bishop dress" characteristic of Dadaism. He also established the Israeli art colony Ein Hod and founded the avant-garde magazine Contimporanul.

 30 
Joaquín Torres-García
(Uruguayan Artist and Art Theorist Who Established the Constructive Universalism Movement)
Joaquín Torres-García
1
Birthdate: July 28, 1874
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Montevideo, Uruguay
Died: August 8, 1949

Uruguayan-Spanish artist Joaquín Torres-García didn’t like the conservative style promoted at his Barcelona art academy and deviated more toward Impressionist and post-Impressionist art instead. He later brought Constructivism to South American countries. The Taller Torres García founder is best remembered for his work Monumento Cosmico.

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 31 
Pierre Reverdy
1
Birthdate: September 13, 1889
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Narbonne, France
Died: June 17, 1960
 32 
Julian Trevelyan
1
Birthdate: February 20, 1910
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dorking, England
Died: July 12, 1988
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 33 
Kristoffer Zetterstrand
(Surreal artist)
Kristoffer Zetterstrand
0
Birthdate: September 27, 1973
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden

Kristoffer Zetterstrand is a Swedish surreal artist whose paintings are based on scenography sculpted in 3D applications and virtual still lifes. In 2012, he was honored with the prestigious Marianne & Sigvard Bernadotte Art Award. Kristoffer Zetterstrand is perhaps best known for his mosaic The Medical Landscape which earned him the Stora Kakelpriset in 2013.

 34 
Stanley William Hayter
1
Birthdate: December 27, 1901
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hackney, London, England
Died: May 4, 1988
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 35 
Julien Levy
(Art Dealer)
Julien Levy
0
Birthdate: January 22, 1906
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: February 10, 1981
 36 
Kati Horna
(Photojournalist)
Kati Horna
0
Birthdate: May 19, 1912
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: October 19, 2000
 37 
Florence Henri
(French Surrealist Artist and Photographer)
Florence Henri
0
Birthdate: June 28, 1893
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York, United States
Died: July 24, 1982

Though born in the US, Florence Henri traveled to various places, such as Silesia, Rome, and London, following her parents’ death. Initially well-versed in the piano, she later focused on painting. At age 34, she was introduced to photography at the Bauhaus and later explored techniques such as the photomontage and negative photography.

 38 
Gunther Gerzso
(Painter, Screenwriter, Director)
Gunther Gerzso
0
Birthdate: June 17, 1915
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico
Died: April 21, 2000
 39 
Enrico Donati
(Italian-American Surrealist Painter and Sculptor)
Enrico Donati
0
Birthdate: February 19, 1909
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Died: April 25, 2008

Enrico Donati was an Italian-American Surrealist sculptor and painter. Regarded as one of the last of the Surrealists, Donati also served as a visiting lecturer at Yale University. Although he is often associated with Surrealism, Enrico Donati also showed keen interest in Spatialism.

 40 
Ernest Tino Trova, Jr.
0
Birthdate: February 19, 1927
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: March 8, 2009
 41 
Maisoon Al Saleh
(Visual artist)
Maisoon Al Saleh
0
Birthdate: 1988 AD
Birthplace: Dubai, United Arab Emirates