Monsters & Myths: Surrealism and War in the 1930s and 1940s

20 October 2018–13 January 2019

Exhibition Overview


Max Ernst, Europe After the Rain II, 1940-42. Oil on canvas.

As Europe lurched toward fascism and America fought in the Second World War, no other artists produced images more powerfully disturbing than the Surrealists. Monsters & Myths: Surrealism and War in the 1930s and 1940s will be the first major exhibition to focus on the interrelationship between Surrealism and war in both Europe and America during this period.

Surrealism—one of the most impactful and avant-garde movements of the 20th century—resulted from profound geopolitical shifts and pushed aesthetic boundaries to new places. Monsters and myths became some of the Surrealists’ most favorite subjects, as they often took recourse in mythological themes to depict the horrors of war and capture dark premonitions. This exhibition will examine key works in a variety of media by Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, and Max Ernst, juxtaposing them with works by lesser known artists such as André Masson, Wolfgang Paalen, and Wifredo Lam.

(Photo courtesy of Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.)

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