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Author André Breton
People cited Agustín Cárdenas, Arthur Rimbaud


Handwritten text by André Breton about Cárdenas, dated 11 February, 1959.

The ‘hand’ of Rimbaldian memory, that of technical progress obscuring consciousness of the ‘manual centuries’, can be used for other ends than useful work and production. In this preface for an exhibition of Cuban sculptor Cárdenas (at the Galerie La Cour d'Ingres, February-March 1959), Breton finds a revolutionary vein, linking work of stone and metal to more social problems in a way that had become rare in his texts since the end of the 1930s. ‘Perforating and enjoying’, the hand of Cárdenas’s hand is ‘perforator and pleasure-seeker’ realises the overcoming of the worker’s alienation in its original way - not by revolution, but by enjoyment. The text was included in the final edition of Surrealism and Painting in 1965 [p 323 in the English language edition]. [Atelier André Breton website, 2005]

Hand-written manuscript signed, 11 February 1959.
- 1/2 page in-4° handwritten, titled, dated and signed in ink first draft of Breton’s text dedicated to the sculpture of Augustín Cárdenas:
‘However adroit it may be - like a dragonfly - the hand of Cardenas ensures our happiness by remaining at this highly privileged level of development... the great blossoming totem which outlines the curves of a beauty queen’s waist better than a saxophone.’ [sale catalogue, 2003]

*This entry was translated from the French by Michael Richardson.


André Breton (Édition publiée sous la direction d'Étienne-Alain Hubert avec la collaboration de Philippe Bernier et Marie-Claire Dumas), « Agustín Cárdenas », Le Surréalisme et la Peinture, Œuvres complètes, tome IV, Écrits sur l'art et autres textes, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, Paris, Gallimard, 2008, pages 738-739, notice et notes p. 1360-1361.


Creation date11-févr.-59
Bibliographical material

1 page in-4°

Physical descriptionMs - encre noire
Number of pages1
Breton Auction, 2003Lot 2465
Keywords, ,
CategoriesAndre Breton's Manuscripts
Set[Breton's Manuscripts and Drawings] dossier Le Surréalisme et la peinture
Permanent link
Exhibition place

See also

1 Work


Agustín Cárdenas


Catalogue d'une exposition organisée à la galerie de la Cour d'Ingres du 27 février au 20 mars 1959.

Une image, une notice descriptive, une bibliographie, une exposition, un lien.

[Breton's Manuscripts and Drawings] dossier Le Surréalisme et la peinture