The Collection

Home Page > Works > [Preface to a performance by Katherine Dunham].

[Preface to a performance by Katherine Dunham].

Would it be too much for the combined paintbrushes...



Author André Breton
People cited Edgar Degas, Katherine Dunham, Arthur Rimbaud, Jacques Roumain, Curt Sachs, André Schaeffner, Toulouse-Lautrec, André Breton, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat


Handwritten introduction by André Breton published in the October 1949 programme for the American dancer Katherine Dunham's performance at the Théâtre de Paris, rue Blanche.

A magical act, contact with the dead: in this short preface to the dance programme presented by the American choreographer Katherine Dunham at the Théâtre de Paris on 19 October 1949, Breton pays tribute to a work that rediscovers the primitive sources of the relationship dance has with the sacred. Rimbaud, Seurat, and Gauguin are referenced in this preface in support of Breton’s enthusiasm for his subject. Two stages of the text are given here, which provides us with a better understanding of the writing process. [Atelier André Breton website, 2005]

Autograph manuscript signed, Paris, 7 October 1949.

Preface to a performance by Katherine Dunham.

- 3 pages in-4°, handwritten in blue ink, dated and signed by Breton.

Page 1 is the first draft of the first part of the text, with numerous erasures and corrections, and pages 2 and 3 give the whole text with some erasures and corrections:

"Would it be beyond the combined paintbrushes of Degas, Gauguin, and Lautrec to capture and isolate from the melting of images - given more bitterly to time’s flight - the enchantments that Katherine Dunham knows how to conjure up around her, bending to her like these lakes of Haiti." [Auction Catalogue, 2003]

(Œuvres complètes, Volume III, Alentours II, pp.1002-1003).


André Breton (Édition de Marguerite Bonnet avec la collaboration de Philippe Bernier, Marie-Claire Dumas, Étienne-Alain Hubert et José Pierre), Alentours II, Œuvres complètes, tome III, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, Paris, Gallimard, 1999, p. 1002-1003, notes, p. 1440.


Creation date07-oct.-49
Physical description

Ms - encre bleue et noire et crayon noir

Breton Auction, 2003Lot 2308
CategoriesManuscripts, Andre Breton's Manuscripts
Set[AB's Manuscripts] Miscellaneous Manuscripts
Permanent link