(18/2/1896 - 28/9/1966)

In the 1920's surrealism began as a literary movement, before  it developed into an artistic one.
André Breton was considered the leading figure in a circle of surrealist poets and writers, that was influenced by the Comte de Lautréamont's vision of unexpected poetic combinations of objects. In their work the Surrealists also explored the notions of  Sigmund Freud on dreams and the stressful relation between the unconscious and the lived reality.
André Breton published his "Manifest du Surréalisme" in

1924. Here he describes the techniques of psychic automatism as a way of tapping into the unconscious for his "automatic writing". Not much later the circle was expanded with graphic artists and painters. André Breton, like most of the surrealists,  was a member of the communist party from 1927 to 1935. Their revolutionary ideas about writing and visual art  were good soil for growing a revolutionary political view too. But probably their artistic  freedom didn't go well with the strict ruling of the French communist party and many surrealists have left the party in a later stage.

(Jeu de cartes surréaliste)

The deck was conceived in Marseille during a meeting of the surrealist group. The designs for the deck were made by eight artists from the group. Each made the designs for 2 court cards (including the aces). The artists were Victor Brauner, André Breton, Oscar Dominguez, Max Ernst, Jacques Hérold, Wilfredo Lam, Jacqueline Lamba and André Masson.

Because, as André Breton claims, the group wanted to keep a collective, but also an anonimous as possible, character, the designs were copied scrupulously by Robert Delangade in one session, one after the other. 

The regular French indices have been replaced by a "G" for Genius, an "S" for Siren and an "M" for Magician. Also the suitcolours are non-standard: there's a Keyhole as a symbol of cognition, a Flame as a symbol of love, a Star as a symbol of dreams, and a rolling Wheel in Flames as a symbol for revolution.

On each court a name is mentioned. They reflect the group's interests and goals. Of course there are a number of French writers and poets, but also Sigmund Freud and Pancho Villa to express their concern with dreams and revolution.

The Ubu joker was independently designed by Jarry.
The second joker is identical.

The deck was printed by Grimaud in 1983 and published by André Dimanche in Marseille.

The deck was originally conceived in 1940. By that time André Breton had already banned one member from the group, that we would certainly hear from....................

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