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Monsters & Myths

Monsters & Myths
Surrealism and War in the 1930s and 1940s

October 20, 2018–January 13, 2019

As Europe lurched toward fascism and America fought in the Second World War, no other artists produced images more powerfully disturbing than the Surrealists. Monsters & Myths: Surrealism and War in the 1930s and 1940s will be the first major exhibition to focus on the interrelationship between Surrealism and war in both Europe and America during this period.

Surrealism—one of the most impactful and avant-garde movements of the 20th century—resulted from profound geopolitical shifts and pushed aesthetic boundaries to new places. Monsters and myths became some of the Surrealists’ most favorite subjects, as they often took recourse in mythological themes to depict the horrors of war and capture dark premonitions. This exhibition will examine key works in a variety of media by Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, and Max Ernst, juxtaposing them with works by lesser known artists such as André Masson, Wolfgang Paalen, and Wifredo Lam.

Monsters & Myths will build on the Wadsworth Atheneum’s storied history as the first American museum to exhibit Surrealist art. Co-organized with The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA), the exhibition will also travel to the BMA and the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, Tennessee.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue


Image: Max Ernst, Europe After the Rain (detail), 1940-1942, Oil on canvas, The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund, 1942.281