• Term applied to international community of artists (visual and
literary) beginning in Zurich, Switzerland (1916)
• Other branches of Dada
– New York
– Paris (practioners will become associated with Surrealism)
• Dada artists particularly affected by WWI (1914-1918), many
having lost friends and relatives, or having served themselves
– In 1 day Britain lost 20,000 soldiers, by 1915 the French
lost 1, 430,000 men within a 3 miles radius
• Denounce nationalism and materialistic themes
• Unified in shared belief, a common style, and rejection of
conventions in art and thought
• Aim was to shock society into self-awareness through anti-art,
poetry, performance, and other unorthodox techniques
• Foundations of Dada reside in chance and
• Dada artists are descendants of
Romanticism and Symbolism
• Reject middle class values
• It is a self-defined anti-art anti-movement
• Rejects standard convention in exchange
for playfulness, chance, improvisation, and
“…a protest with its whole being engaged in destructive
action; it is knowledge of all the means rejected up until
now by the shame-faced sex of comfortable logic; which is
the dance of those too impotent to create; it is the abolition
of memory; it is the abolition of the future; it is the absolute
and unquestionable faith in every god that is immediate
product of spontaneity; it is freedom; it is an interlacing of
opposites and of all contradictions, grotesques,
inconsistencies, it is LIFE!”
- Dada Manifesto, 1918
• Birthplace of Dada
– Switzerland neutral
– Zurich Dada principally literary with roots in Alfred Jarry’s 1896
play, Ubu Roi
• Founding members Hugo Ball, Hans Arp, Tristan Tzara, Marcel
Janco, Francis Picabia, Christian Schad, and Sophie Taeuber-Arp
meet at Café Voltaire
• Kandinsky’s writings on abstraction and theory resonate with
• Also influential is Cubist collage; Dada will liberate it from
restrictions of convention and premeditation by introducing chance
• German Expressionist writing and French poetry illuminate the
way for Dada artists to break link between words and conventional
Cabaret Voltaire (1916)
Hugo Ball reciting the poem, Karawane at the
Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich, 1916. Photograph, 28
½” x 15 ¾”
Hugo Ball, Karawane, c. 1916.
Sound poem performed Café Voltaire
Marcel Janco, Untitled (Mask, Portrait of Tzara), 1919. Paper, cardboard, burlap, ink,
string, and gouache, 21 5/8” x 9 13/16” x 2 ¾”
• Dada opposes any type of program in the artist
– Three common denominators in Zurich Dada
• Bruitisme -taken from Futurists, it is essentially noise-music
• Simultaneity-from both Cubists and Futurists
• These three elements become basis for
Dada’s revolutionary approach to the
• Zurich Dada concludes with end of WWI
Jean (Hans) Arp (1887-1966)
• Primary visual artist
Jean Arp, Untitled (Collage with Squares Arranged according to the Laws of Chance), (1916-17). Torn-andpasted paper and colored paper on colored paper, 19 1/8 x 13 5/8.” Museum of Modern Art, NY.
Jean Arp (1886-1966)
• Low relief sculpture
• Shapes determined through
• Influenced by Kandinsky and
his mystical world view
• Wanted to show the abstract
life force believed to run
through all things
• Result looks like abstract
mask, animal or plant forms,
or cloud formation
Jean Arp, The Entombment of the Birds and Butterflied
• Title applied last
(Head of Tzara), 1916-1917. Painted wooden relief, 15 ¾” x
12 ¾.” Kunsthaus, Zurich. Fig. 27.1.
New York Dada
• Marcel Duchamp premiere representative
• NY Dada not focused on war like Zurich,
its focus is art convention and institutions
• Anti-art, anti-establishment
• Duchamp rejects emphasis on retinal
experience and need of art to be pleasing
to the eye
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968)
Marcel Duchamp playing chess in
1952. Photo by Kay Bell Reynal.
Rrose Sélavay (Marcel Duchamp). 1921.
Photograph by Man Ray. Art Direction by Marcel
Duchamp. Silver print. 5-7/8" x 3"-7/8".
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968)
• Duchamp’s reputation
arrived in NY two years
prior to the artist with his
exhibition of Nude
Descending a Staircase
at the Armory Show
Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase, No.2,
1912. Oil on canvas, 58” x 35.“ Philadelphia Museum of
• Duchamp’s work fuses
Cubism and Futurism in
his scandalous piece,
Nude Descending a
– Exhibited at the Armory
Show in NYC in 1913,
became the success de
Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a
Staircase, No.2, 1912. Oil on canvas, 58” x 35.“
Philadelphia Museum of Art.
• Critical reaction to
comments that it
looked as if a shingles
factory blew up and
this cartoon published
in The New York
• Even Cubists rejected
J. F. Griswold: The Rude descending a
staircase (Rush-Hour at the Subway). The
New York Evening Sun, 20th March 1913
Marcel Duchamp, Landscape at Blainville,
1902; oil on canvas. 24” x 19.” Philadelphia
Museum of Art.
Marcel Duchamp, Paradise, 1910-11. Oil on
canvas. 45” x 50.” Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Marcel Duchamp, The King and Queen
Surrounded by Swift Nudes, 1912.
Pencil on paper, 10 ¾” x 15 3/8.”
Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA.
Marcel Duchamp, The Passage from Virgin to
Bride, 1912. Oil on canvas, 23 3/8” x 21 ¼.”
Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA.
Marcel Duchamp, Chocolate Grinder No.2/Broyeuse
de chocolat no 2., 1914. Oil and thread on canvas.
25.6 x 21.3.” Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA.
Marcel Duchamp, Nine Malic Molds/Neuf
moules mâlic,1914-15. Oil, lead wire, lead
foil on glass between two glass plates, 25” x
40“ Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA.
Marcel Duchamp, The Bride Stripped
Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The
Large Glass), 1915-23. Oil, lead, water,
dust, foil, and varnish, 8’11” x 5’7” As it
appears and was placed by Marcel
Duchamp to be viewed in the
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Marcel in front of The Large Glass
The Large Glass in 1936 at the home of
Katherine Drier. Another of Duchamp’s works,
Tum’ appears in the upper background.
Marcel Duchamp, Bicycle Wheel, 1913.
Assisted readymade bicycle wheel, diameter
25.5”, mounted on a stool, 23.7”high.
Marcel Duchamp, Bottle Rack, 1914/64.
Bottle rack made of galvanized iron. 59 x
37 cm. Original lost.
Baroness Else von Freytag-Loringhoven (and Morton Schamberg?), God, 1917-18.
Metal plumbing pipe, and wood.
Marcel Duchamp, In Advance of the
Broken Arm, 1915. Snow shovel,
wood and galvanized iron. 47.8
Marcel Duchamp, L.H.O.O.Q. 1919.
Rectified readymade from Box in a Valise,
pencil on a reproduction of the Mona Lisa.
7.8” x “4.9
Alfred Stieglitz photograph of R. Mutt (Marcel Duchamp), Fountain, 1917/1964. Published The Blind Man 2,
eds. Marcel Duchamp, Beatrice Wood, and Henri-Pierre Roché (New York, May 1917). Porcelain urinal, 15” x
19 1/4”x 24 5/8/.” Fig. 27.2.
The R. Mutt Case
“Whether Mr. Mutt with
his own hands made the
fountain or not has no
importance. He chose.
He took a ordinary article
of life, placed it so that its
disappeared under a new
title and point of view…
[creating a new thought
for that object.”
The Blind Man 2, eds. Marcel Duchamp, Beatrice Wood, and Henri-Pierre Roché (New
York, May 1917), pp. 2–3.
Marcel Duchamp, Parisian Air, 1920. Glass
bottle with air (gift for Walter Arensberg).
Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA.
Rrose Sélavay (Marcel Duchamp).
1921. Photograph by Man Ray. Art
Direction by Marcel Duchamp. Silver
print. 5-7/8" x 3"-7/8.”
Étant Donnés, Marcel Duchamp, 1946-1966; mixed-media assemblage including Spanish
wooden door, bricks, velvet, twigs, pig skin, aluminum, glass, Plexiglas, cotton, linoleum,
electric lights, and gas lamp; assembled posthumously by artist’s wife and stepson
Étant Donnés, Marcel Duchamp, 19461966; mixed-media assemblage
including Spanish wooden door, bricks,
velvet, twigs, pig skin, aluminum, glass,
Plexiglas, cotton, linoleum, eclectic
lights, and gas lamp; assembled
posthumously by artist’s wife and
• Most political of groups
• Branch of Dada instigated by Richard Huelsenbeck’s return
from Zurich (he too had helped being the movement there)
• May 1917 writes “Der neue Mensch” or “The New Jugend”
where he rejects all forms of convention in art-including
Cubism, Futurism, and Expressionism
– Calls for an art “which in its conscious content presents
the thousandfold problems of the day, the art which has
been visibly shattered by the explosions of the last week,
which is forever trying to collect its limbs after yesterday’s
-Richard Huelsenbeck, Dada Manifesto, Berlin 1918
Raoul Hausmann (1886-1971)
• Considered the theoretical mind
behind Berlin Dada
• Referred to as the Dadasoph
• Closest collaborator with Huelsenbeck
• Art is response to Huelsenbeck’s
• Works across media, best known for
• Here he presents the image of
modern man whose loss of personal
identity was a usual topic for the artist
• Condemns modernism
Raoul Hausmann, The Spirit of Our Time
(Mechanical Head), 1919. Wood,
leather, aluminum, brass, and
cardboard, 12 5/8” x 9.” Musée
National d’Art Moderne, Centre
Georges Pompidou, Paris. Fig. 27.3.
Hannah Höch (1889-1978)
• Weimar Republic (1918-1933)
born out of military defeat and
• Develops technique known as
• Inspired by Germany army’s
practice of appropriating
• Attacks corruption of government
and prejudice of male Dada
• References machine aesthetic Cut with a Kitchen (Cake) Knife Dada through
the last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch of
• Dada through a woman’s eye
Germany, Hannah Höch, c. 1919;
photomontage, 44 7/8” x 35 ½.” Staatliche
Museen, Berlin. Fig. 27.4.
Cologne Dada (1919-1922)
• Enjoys autonomous position amongst
• Inspired by graphic styles of Klee and
alienation felt in De Chirico
• Reaction to artificial calmness maintained
by British troops in area
• Interest in Freudian theory
– Interpretation of Dreams (1900)
Paul Klee, Hammamet mit der Moschee
(Hammamet with the Mosque), 1914.
Watercolor and pencil on cardboard, 8 1/8” x
7 ½.” Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.
Giorgio De Chirico, The Great
Metaphysician, 1917. Oil on canvas, 41 1/8
x 27 ½.“ Museum of Modern Art, NY.
Max Ernst (1891-1976)
• Inspired to take up art
after seeing Cezanne
• Work rooted in Late
Gothic and Renaissance
Grünewald, and Bosch
Max Ernst, Ambiguous Figures 1. Copper
Plate 1 Zince Plate 1. Rubber Cloth 1.
Draining Telescope 1. Pipe Man, 1920.
Collage, gouache, India ink, pencil and
painting over a print, 10” x 7 3/8.” Estate of
the artist. Fig. 27.5.
Albrecht Dürer, The Four Horsemen
of the Apocalypse, 1498. Woodcut,
15 3/8” x 11.” Metropolitan Museum
of Art, NY.
Matthias Grünewald, The Isenheim Altarpiece,
(piece of center panel) 1512-1516. Oil on
panel, main body 9’91/2” x 10’9”; predella
2’51/2” x 11’2.” Musée d’Unterlinden, Colmar,
Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights, c. 1480-1515. Oil on panel, center
panel 7’ 2 ½” x 6’ 4 ½,” wings each 7’ 2 ½” x 3’ 2.” Museo del Prado. Fig. 13.9.
Max Ernst, Ambiguous Figures 1. Copper Plate 1
Zince Plate 1. Rubber Cloth 1. Draining Telescope
1. Pipe Man, 1920. Collage, gouache, India ink,
pencil and painting over a print, 10” x 7 3/8.”
Estate of the artist. Fig. 27.5.
Francis Picabia, Amorous Procession
(Parade), 1917. Oil on board, 29” x 30.”
Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948)
Kurt Schwitters, Bild mit heller Mitte (Picture
with Light Center), 1919. Painted collage, 33
¼ “x 25 7/8.” Museum of Modern Art, NY.
Kurt Schwitters, Merzbild 25 A, Das
Sternenbild (Stars Picture), 1920.
Assemblage, 41” x 31 1/8.”
• Schwitters best known for his
• Created 3: Hanover (c. 1923),
Norway (1937), and in England
while in exile (1947)
• “Merz stands for freedom from
all fetters, for the sake of
artistic creation. Freedom is
not lack of restraint, but the
product of strict artistic
Kurt Schwitters, Hanover Merzbau,
destroyed. This photograph taken c.
Louise Nevelson, City on the High
Mountain, 1983. Steel painted black
20' 6" x 23' x 13' 6"
Louise Bourgeois, Maman or Spider, 1996.
Painted steel, @30 ft. high. Washington,
Man Ray (1890-1976)
Man Ray, Gift, 1921 (replication of the
original). Flatiron with nails, 6 ½” x 3 5/8” x 3
¾.” Museum of Modern Art, NY.
Man Ray, Untitled (Rayograph), 1922.
Gelatin silver print, 9 3/8 x 7 1/16”.
• Man Ray important link
between NY and Parisian
Dada and Surrealism
• Creates camera-less
• Accidental discovery
resulting in Dada still lifes
• Influenced by Stieglitz
Man Ray, Champs délicieux, 1922. Rayograph
gelatin silver print. Man Ray Trust. Fig. 27.6
“…pure psychic automatism by which it is intended to
express, either verbally or in writing, the true function of
thought. Thought dictated by the absence of all control
exerted by reason, and outside all aesthetic or moral
-1924, André Breton
• International intellectual movement centered mainly in Paris
• term was used as early as 1917 when Apollinaire described
Parade as “surrealist”
• Born out of Paris Dada, lead by André Breton Surrealist
artists perceived a deep crisis in Western culture and
responded with a revision of values at every level
• first generation Surrealists include: Jean Arp, *Giorgio de
Chirico, Max Ernst, Paul Klee, Man Ray, Andre Masson,
Joan Miró, *Pablo Picasso
• Later practioners include Marcel Duchamp, Yves Tanguy,
Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia, Rene Magritte, and
Two branches of Surrealism
1. Biomorphic (Arp, Ernst, Miro, Masson,
2. Representational (Dali, Tanguy, Magritte)
René Magritte (1898-1976)
René Magritte, Treachery (Perfidy) of Images, 1928-29; oil on canvas, 23 ¼ x 31 ½.”Los Angeles
County Museum of Art, LA.
• Occupied with the problems of thought and expression in all
• In both poetry and the visual arts this revision was
undertaken through the development of unconventional
techniques, of which automatism was paramount.
• Artists regard their work as an expression of the
philosophical movement first and foremost, with the works
being an artifact.
• Found inspiration by the psychoanalytical discoveries of
Freud and the political ideology of Karl Marx
• Henri Matisse, Vasily Kandinsky, and Andre Derain
associated but not practicing members
• From the Comte de Lautrémont and Rimbaud, the
Surrealists took the idea of revolt-the rejected and
revolted against most everything; against tradition,
against family, society, and God
• Works feature the element of surprise, unexpected
juxtapositions and non sequitor
• Surrealist artists tended to be communist
Surrealism vs. Parisian Dada
• Parisian Dada, rejected the institutionalization of Dada
Breton led a revolt that resulted in the break-up of the group
• Surrealists did not reject Western aesthetics in entirety; it did
not promise to solve society’s problems
• Surrealism differs from Dada in its Romantic emphasis on
• Surrealism reacted to the moment by reasserting artistic
genius as a male trait
• Like Dada, it did however explore untraditional ways of
creating embracing chance, randomness, and coincidence
The exquisite corpse will
drink the young wine
André Breton, Valentine Hugo, Greta Knustin, and Tristan Tzara, Exquisite Corpse, c.
1930. Ink on paper, 9 ¼” x 12¼”
Max Ernst, The Horde, 1927. Oil on canvas, 44 ⅞ x 57 ½.” Collection Würth, Künzelsau
Max Ernst, Surrealism and Painting,
1942. Oil on canvas, 77” x 92.” Menil
Jackson Pollock painting, photograph by Hans Namuth,
Joan Miró (1893-1983)
• Represents biomorphic
Surrealism (also known
• Privileges automatic
process often resulting
in abstract and enigmatic
• Influenced by Cézanne
Joan Miro,Composition, 1933. Oil on canvas, 51 3/8” by 64
1/8”. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT.
Salvador Dalí (1904-1989)
• Poster boy of Surrealism
• Style characterized as naturalist
• Much of his imagery taken from
childhood in Spain
• Familiar with modern masters
(Impressionism through Futurists)
• Develops own paranoiac-critical
method to channel unconscious
• Wants to create world that
reflects Freudian theory
• Works often deny abstraction
Photograph of Salvador Dalí
Salvador Dalí, The Persistence of Memory, 1931. Oil on canvas, 89 ½ x 13.” Museum of
Modern Art, NY. http://www.moma.org/collection/object.php?object_id=79018
• Women in Surrealism served more
as a muse
• Surrealist men were especially
fearful of women and renewed
Symbolist images of the vagina
dentate and femme fatale
• The emphasis on dreams,
automatic writing, and the
unconscious reveal the misogynist
ideals that were rampant in not
only Surrealism, but the earlier
movements many of these men
were associated with like Futurism,
Expressionism, Dada, etc.
René Magritte, Surrealists around a
painting by René Magritte. Published in
La Révolution surréaliste, 1929
Alberto Giacometti, Woman with her Throat Cut, 1932 (cast 1949), bronze, 8 x 34 ½ x
25.” Museum of Modern Art, NY.
Méret Oppenheim (1913-1985)
Red Head, Blue Body, Méret Oppenheim,
1936; oil on canvas, 31 5/8 x 31 5/8"
Man Ray, Erotigue Voilee (Veiled Erotic),
1933. Photograph, 4 ½” x 3 1/3.“
Man Ray, Portrait of Méret Oppenheim,
1933. Photograph, 4 ½” x 3 1/3.”
Méret Oppenheim, Object or Luncheon in Fur, 1936; fur (Chinese gazelle fur)-covered
tea cup, 4 ⅜” in diameter, saucer 9 ⅜ “, spoon 8” in length; overall height 2 ⅞.” Fig.
27.9. Museum of Modern Art, NY.
Pablo Picasso, Guernica, 1937. Oil on canvas, 11’6” x 25’ 8.” Museo Reina Sofia,
Roberto Matta, Disasters of Mysticism, 1942; oil on canvas, 38 ¼ x 51 ¾”