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Surrealism in Latin America

An overview of selected holdings related to Surrealism in Latin America and subject bibliography.

César Moro in sand / Unknown photographer

Created 2010
Authors: Rebecca Zamora, Research Assistant, Administration with Donna Conwell, Project Specialist, Department of Architecture and Contemporary Art, and Annette Leddy, Senior Special Collections Cataloger, Collections Management.

The Surrealism in Latin American research project team at the GRI also includes Rebecca Peabody, Senior Project Specialist, Department of the Deputy Director, and John Tain, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Collections Development.

The Getty Research Institute's Latin American surrealist collections encompass various media: archival papers, journals, rare books, photographs, and artwork. These materials come from Chile, Peru, and Mexico and include, most notably, the papers of poet-editors Vicente Huidobro, Enrique Gomez-Correa, César Moro, and Emilio Westphalen. The journals that were edited by these influential figures, together with a large number of journals acquired separately, extend the sometimes local narratives of the archives into the international surrealist movement. Mandrágora (1937) from Chile, Las Moradas (1947) from Peru, Dyn (1942) and El Hijo Prodigo (1943) from Mexico, in combination with French journals Surréalisme au Service de la Révolution (1930) and Minotaure (1933) and North American journals VVV (1942), View (1940), and Tiger's Eye (1947), offer an unprecedented opportunity for understanding the evolution of surrealism. These journals contextualize correspondence and manuscripts from the archives, illuminating the early Latin American surrealists' conflicted relationship with indigenismo and Marxism. The journals also elaborate how, during World War II, surrealism splintered into groups, challenging Breton's conception of aesthetic revolution and his problematic view of pre-Columbian cultures.

Banner image: César Moro in the sand in Peru, photographer unknown, circa 1934. The Getty Research Institute, 980029. © André Coyne