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Third lecture in a series of eight that André Breton gave in Haiti in December 1945-1946. This one was given on January 22nd 1946.

Having arrived in Port-au-Prince with Elisa on December 4th, 1945, Breton gave a series of talks starting on the 20th; he had planned eleven, but ultimately gave eight. [Atelier André Breton website, 2005; André Breton website, 2014]

Lectures (Haiti, Martinique) 1945-1946.
Manuscript, 22 January 1946.

The first draft of a manuscript written in ink with André Breton’s markings and corrections (13 folio pages). From the third lecture Breton that gave in Haiti on master painters: Delacroix, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, and Le douanier Rousseau.

“Van Gogh presents to you here one of the great masterpieces, “The Starry Night,” which possesses a truly mystical fever. One could say that he is the convulsive painter of the tree, of the twisting path, of the little dry-stone wall which embraces a field in Provence. All that his brush touches, all that is born of such skill, hatching like sparks from serpentine flames, acquires an extraordinary animistic quality.

“These elements of great humor, and the magic of a certain light drives the unusual distribution of organic elements, which take on even more importance in the “parade” of 1886. From a vulgar spectacle enters everything, a circus display succeeds in extracting a bit of sacred illumination which redirects it towards the eternal. Your attention will concentrate on the central musician whose silhouette is that of a magician, presiding as if an angel, even at night.

“The only trait that Henri Rousseau presents in common with Seurat is the boundless love of independence. But would it not be precisely this love that conveys a message of his exceptional sense of duration and influence? I've told you, speculations of the intellect which command Seurat’s technical knowledge remains foreign to Rousseau. Frankly, Rousseau is uncultivated in the science of drawing, with the very basics taught in primary schools having been denied to him. He is a man of the people, extremely simple, whose approach in painting as well as in life always demonstrates good faith— the cynics will say a candor in the face of all hardship."

This magnificent text of Breton’s is made from fragments of texts assembled and pasted together. [Auction catalogue, 2003].


- André Breton, (Édition de Marguerite Bonnet avec la collaboration de Philippe Bernier, Marie-Claire Dumas, Étienne-Alain Hubert et José Pierre), Inédits I, Œuvres complètes, tome III, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, Paris, Gallimard, 1999, p. 233-251.

Creation date22 janv.-46
Bibliographical material

13 pages grand in-4° and 1 page in-8°

Date of publication 1946
Place of origin
Number of pages13 p.
Breton Auction, 2003Lot 2263
Keywords, , ,
CategoriesAndre Breton's Manuscripts
Set[AB's Manuscripts] Haïti
ExhibitionSérie de conférences en Haïti
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Place of origin