Sotheby’s pays tribute to the anti-typography of Dadaism
“Each page must explode, either by deep and weight seriousness—the whirlwind, the vertigo, the new, the eternal—by the crushing jokes, by the enthusiasm for the principles, or by the manner of being printed” said Tristan Tzara, the Romanian and French avant-garde poet, essayist and performance artist. He should know. A polymath, active as a journalist, playwright, literary and art critic, composer and film director, was best known for being one of the founders and central figures of the anti-establishment Dada movement.
Essential, in that it ensured the movement a coherent strong visual signature, by illustrating both the sprit of its subversive nature and the texts themselves, the graphic work done for the publications of the era is regarded exceptional. This “phenomenon bursting forth in the midst of the postwar economic and moral crisis, a savior, a monster, which would lay waste to everything in its path”, is celebrated this April with the highly anticipated fifth installment in the Sotheby’s auctions of the R. and B. L. library.
The sale, in collaboration with Binoche and Giquello, is dedicated to two of the 20th century’s most revolutionary movements: Dada and Surrealism.
Great poets such as Aragon, Breton, Éluard, Char and Tzara rub shoulders with renowned artists including Picasso, Tanguy, Ernst, Léger, Miró, Bellmer, and more. The carefully selected, often limited editions feature moving dedications that testify to the friendship and artistic dialogue of this period with editions bound by masters such as Bonet, Leroux and Martin.
Some of the most remarkable works in the collection include two copies that belonged to Éluard: Ralentir Travaux bound by Bonet and La Petite Anthologie du Surréalisme by Hugnet, to which Éluard attached important documents signed by Breton, Char, Dali, Miró and an original Picasso etching embellished with two bird feathers.
Rare books featuring photographic illustrations complete this collection of modern masterpieces, including the precious Champs Délicieux illustrated with 12 Man Ray ‘rayographs’ and La Poupée by Bellmer. Tracts, posters and rare and complete magazines like Dada and 391 further enrich this magnificent collection.
The heart of this extraordinary collection features manuscripts and correspondence by the great names in Dada and Surrealism, including an outstanding unpublished and highly illustrated notebook by Dalí.
Tags/ tristan tzara, dadaism, surrealist, avant-garde, dada movement, bibliothèque r. & b.l., binoche, giquello, aragon, breton, éluard, char, picasso, tanguy, ernst, léger, miró, bellmer, bonet, leroux, martin, sotheby’s, dali