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Offer Surrealism to the world

Introduction to the André Breton Website

Such is the goal of this open-access website created from the private collection of André Breton. The collection of about 10,000 objects was acquired over Breton's lifetime in the space of his apartment located at 42 rue Fontaine in Paris. It was dispersed in 2003, but has not completely disappeared from the public’s view, as you can now discover it in its entirety via the web— a feat quite impossible at the time of the collection’s existence at rue Fontaine in Paris.

Managed by the Association Atelier André Breton and presided over by Aube Breton-Elléouët, the daughter of the poet, the site is a database in continual development, thanks to wiki technology that allows everyone to participate in developing the site from all over the world. The consultants for the auction of 2003 have for the most part, written the descriptive notices that you see online. Constance Krebs has written the headers, the notices from the auction without descriptions, and periodically updates the notices that were written in 2003. Christina Rudosky is translating the notices into English. All volunteers are welcome to help them both.

It is up to you to help us complete certain lacunae in the history of the collection, and add your own knowledge of Surrealism, Folk Art, Graphic Arts or Tribal Arts to the site. If you possess supplementary information, letters or other documents which refer to certain correspondence, objects or manuscripts that are presented here, you can send us a copy with a commentary through the the wiki. Our advisory board will immediately be able to review your comment or suggestion and it will be published online under the creative commons liscence (cc by, nc).

You can also share information in your social networks, keeping in mind that most of the objects represented on the site are there dependent on the Author’s Rights (copyright law in France) and are applicable to the artists that have worked in France.

All the information here has been indexed according to different forms of access. From the home page, on the left, you have access to objects that were placed on the wall located just behind André Breton's back while he was working at his writing desk. A formidable assemblage, this "Wall" is now conserved at the Pompidou Center. In the middle of the home page, the objects from Breton's apartment are also accessible through the photos of Jacques Faujour and a multimedia display created by Sabine de Valon and her students at the Saint-Étienne high school of Cahors.

We are careful to respect the arrangement of the objects as they were placed in Rue Fontaine by Breton. For each exhibition, inquiry or manuscript there is a notice that exists, available through a faceted search, and via the menu bar. The tags offer an index of data dependent on a word search. You can also propose new words that would help create a better search, by contacting us.

Around 3,500 objects are referenced by their lot number from the 2003 auction. So, for those of you who own a hard or digital copy (DVD) of the auction catalogue, this may be an efficient way to locate specific objects on the site. Each of the lots has been linked to an external museum or library where the real object is conserved. In the case that you would like to read the original manuscript, journal or album of newspaper clippings, or view a painting in person, you now are able to find out how.

In summary, access to information on this site is available in multiple forms: by categories (organized on the menu bar, or left margin), by the tags (in the faceted search and meta-data), by the Wall or Atelier (homepage), by author/ artist (menu bar, then by alphabetical order - don't forget the possibility of other collaborators being cited as well). The data is also organized by series: the manuscripts of André Breton, the documents related to the publication of Nadja, or the automatic writing manuscripts, Dreams (menu). In the left margin, search filters can facilitate your navigation of the site.

As a reminder, the site is a work in progress, and so some of the notices still have yet to be put on line. "The future awaits us", and we count on your contribution to help us get there.

We wish you a wonderful visit!

The Association Atelier André Breton

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