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The good life has looked, continues to look, and will look...

Binoculars for blindfolded eyes



Author André Breton
People cited Guillaume Apollinaire, Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia


Manuscript of a preface by André Breton for an exhibition of Francis Picabia's work in March 1949 at the Galerie Drouin.

In March 1949 a retrospective exhibition of Picabia's work was held at the Galerie Drouin. Breton wrote a preface for the exhibition, as did the gallery owner and Michel Tapié. Breton’s text would also be included in the definitive edition of Surréalisme et la peinture in 1965. The drafts presented here confirm the difficulty of writing about a man who was one of Breton's earliest admirers, but with whom the poet's relations were erratic, to say the least. As is the painter's work, which is so difficult to describe that an inventiveness prevails: "For years, each new work of his was a magnificent challenge to what had already been experienced, to what had been foreseen, a marvel of irreverence, a perpetually fortunate quest for whatever could hurtle into the unknown. [Atelier André Breton website, 2005]

Autograph manuscripts, undated [February-March 1949].

- 1 page in-4° handwritten in ink by Breton, with erasures and corrections of the first draft of the beginning of a text dedicated to Francis Picabia: ‘La belle vie a regardé...’ (‘The good life has looked…’)

- 3 pages in-4°, autograph manuscript signed in ink by Breton, with some erasures and corrections, of the second draft of the same text.

"The good life has looked, continues to look, and will look through the windows that Picabia has so often unexpectedly opened, as if regally, independently, so sprightly that from one moment to the next it would be hard to say on which floor of the house he might be found. A house that revolves so that it always faces the sun…

If, as Apollinaire said, "surprise is the great new mainspring", what work (with the exception of Duchamp's) can stand historically beside Picabia's... 

"This century’s youthful years have coincided with the celebrations that Picabia has bestowed upon it... 

"Nothing is less subject to gravity than those luxuriously designed structures that Picabia has so many times promoted to existence, whether in the exciting discontinuity of his Orphic, Dada, and other paintings, or in the unparalled rapture of his poetry, or in the twists and turns of a film such as Entr'acte, for the major part he played in it.”

Reissue of Le Surréalisme et la peinture, Gallimard, 1965; text published under the title: ‘Jumelles pour yeux bandés’ (‘Binoculars for blindfolded eyes’). [Sale Catalogue, 2003]


André Breton (Édition publiée sous la direction d'Étienne-Alain Hubert avec la collaboration de Philippe Bernier et Marie-Claire Dumas), « Francis Picabia, Jumelles pour yeux bandés », Le Surréalisme et la Peinture, Œuvres complètes, tome IV, Écrits sur l'art et autres textes, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, Paris, Gallimard, 2008, p. 617-620, notice p. 1327


491, Francis Picabia - 4 mars 1949

Creation date1949
Bibliographical material

1 page in-4° - MS in blue ink

3 pages in-4° - MS in blue ink



Bibliothèque littéraire Jacques Doucet, Paris : BRT 108 bis

Number of pages1 p. et 3 p.
Breton Auction, 2003Lot 2324
Keywords, ,
CategoriesManuscripts, Andre Breton's Manuscripts
Set[Breton's Manuscripts and Drawings] dossier Le Surréalisme et la peinture, [AB's Manuscripts] Miscellaneous Manuscripts
ExhibitionExposition Francis Picabia, 1949
Permanent link
Exhibition place