Surrealist Art

Surrealist paintings directly evoke strong associations with famous names like Salvador Dalí or René Magritte. But surrealism was more than a mere art movement! The dreamlike, paintings, objects and photographs still fascinate art enthusiasts today. Discover exclusive and limited artworks with surrealist motifs with LUMAS!


The development and characteristics of surrealism

Surrealism developed parallel to the Dada movement, and followed closely on the rise of Expressionism. The term surrealism was first used by the poet and critic Guillaume Apollinaire around 1917, and was later coined by André Breton as the name of the surrealist movement. Surreal means "beyond reality", following from the French preposition sur, meaning "over", or "above". The central themes and motifs of surrealist paintings, prints, and photographs are the dreamlike, the unconscious, fantasy, the unreal and the psyche. In painting, surrealist artists like Salvador Dalí often choose to work with the figurative, depicting the human body and other objects with traditional representational methods. Realism is thus characteristic of the technique of surrealist painting. Surrealist photography, likewise, depicts reality. The specific novelty of surrealism in these cases arises in connection with the unreal, the dream world, or the uncanny, which creeps into pictures and collages. The effect that this creates comes not so much through crude association as through juxtaposition: the uncanny placement of objects. The emergence of psychoanalysis after Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung was decisive for this trend. In the end, surrealism attests to a desire to unite art and modernist trends like psychoanalysis into a new social outlook unafraid of the repressed, of fantasy.

Famous surrealist paintings and artists

In the period between the world wars there took rise a felt need among artists to break with the bourgeoisie, and the traditional habits of seeing and living. Expressionism had already represented a radical break with the theory and practice of art that had dominated until that period. Painting becomes increasingly abstract or surreal, visible reality loses its meaning. The numerous photographic works, paintings, plays and the literature of Surrealism are a further development of the avant-garde. For many surrealist painters and photographers like Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, Meret Oppenheim, Claude Cahun, or Dora Maar, the human psyche, dream, and Eros played the most important role in their works. Art inspired by Frida Kahlo often testifies to a subtle knowledge of the human psyche, enriched with an enigmatic symbolism. The assertion of a spiritual freedom, along with a new conception of the human emerge in key works such as "La Trahison des images" (The Treachery of Images) (1929) Le Fils De L'Homme" (The Son of Man) (1964) by René Magritte, "The Persistence of Memory" (1931) by Salvador Dalí, "Carnival of the Harlequin" (1924/25) by Joan Miró or the black and white art and photographs by Man Ray.

Surrealist photography and Lumas surrealist photo artists

From the beginning, surrealism was informed and challenged by photography. At the time of its inception, photography was still seen as motivating a crisis of representation - especially for painting. Photography was a great new rival and threat to traditional painting. But in hands of surrealists like Man Ray, Maurice Tabad, Dora Maar, Brassaï, Breton, Max Ernst, and Marxel Duchamp, photography became a medium of surrealism. Stimulated by the surrealist focus on the unconscious and the uncanny, these artists often found pictorial resources in existing photographs, such as by recontextualizing specialist and popular imagery in new ways meant to elicit uncanny associations and suggestions hidden within plain or documentable reality. Some also applied special techniques to warp photographic film and prints, such as the famous solarization technique by Man Ray, whereby dramatic overexposure causes the reversal of color tones in the photograph.

The Lumas portfolio contains artworks by Man Ray, as well as by other photo artists inspired by or working in the tradition of surrealism. Giorgio Lo Cascio, or "GLOC", creates dreamlike scenes with formally realist inclinations through his photographic rearrangements. The famous Spanish photographer Ciuco Gutiérrez, with his chandelliers hanging like a sword of Damocles over beach scenes, creates photo montages that are at once uncanny, mildly threatening, and optically pleasing

Surrealist artworks for Sale at LUMAS

Our collection contains a number of photographic and other print artworks within the unmistakable pictorial language of surrealism. Prints depicting famous surrealist artists and motifs by great names such as Magritte or Frida Kahlo can be found in the LUMAS portfolio. But surrealism has also continued on as a powerful current beyond its historical origins, and contemporary surrealists in the Lumas portfolio continue to reinvent the real, through technical innovation and flights of fantasy in painting, drawing, and photography.

Surreal worlds

Daria Petrilli and Götz Valien place female figures in surreal spaces. With fine brushstrokes the protagonists are neatly developed and set against an absurd reality. Andrea Damp immerses her childlike figures in a magical, sun-drenched world that seems to elude rational interpretation. Dream alongside your favorite artist, and discover stunning art prints in the Lumas portfolio!

Abstract collage art

The collage is a classical surrealism form of expression. Colorful art and drawings in interplay with painting and photographs create new contexts of meaning. The mixing of worlds that seemingly do not belong together is masterfully achieved in artworks by Marek Haiduk, Sanda Anderlon, Loui Jover, Giorgio Lo Cascio and Cless. Discover our playful photo works and solve your own personal picture puzzle!

Surreal architecture and landscapes

In combination with architecture and landscape art, photo collages are a particularly fascinating tributary of surrealism. Matthias Jung, Bence Bakonyi, Antonio Rojas, Ciuco Gutiérrez, and Beomsik Won will amaze you! The world turns upside down when you get involved with these exciting artists.

Timeline of surrealism

before and after 1918 Giorgio de Chirico's metaphysical painting ( I piaceri del poeta , 1911) is considered a precursor of Surrealism. Surrealism has its origins in Dada. The movement initially concentrated on France and Paris.
1917 The Society of Independent Artists declines to exhibit Marcel Duchamp's famous The Fountain. The Fountain was an immensely influential artwork, which had a huge influence on surrealism - as a junction of photograpghy, the readymade, and the irony of juxtaposition and decontextualization typical of Dada and Surrealist art.
1922 Break with Dada. Surrealist artist André Breton calls the Congrès de Paris.
1924 The term surrealism (formerly supranaturalism) is introduced. The Surrealist Manifesto is authored.
13-26.11.1925 La Peinture Surrealiste, first joint group exhibition in Paris. Participants included: Hans Arp, Paul Klee, Man Ray, Max Ernst, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Giorgio de Chirico, André Masson, and Pierre Roy.
up to 1930 Various techniques and manifestations of surrealism in art and literature emerge before the onset of fascism in Europe.
from about 1930 until 1945 Fascism and World War II in Europe forced many artists to emigrate. Breton calls for resistance and political commitment. The Surrealists soon split into resistance and politically less involved groups.
after 1945 In the USA a lively surrealist scene is developing in New York. Yves Tanguy, Man Ray, Salvador Dalí, André Breton, Max Ernst, and Marcel Duchamp emigrate there. Surrealism had a decisive influence on Pop Art and Abstract Expressionism.
from 1970 onwards Surrealism as a defined current continues to have an effect into the 1970s. The influence of Surrealism can be seen until today in Concept Art, for example, or in the art of filmmakers like David Lynch.

Art for sale with Lumas

Whether you are looking for a modern surrealist art print or a wide angled landscape photograph for your living room, our portfolio contains prints and photographs for your walls. Shop our collection of home wall art, and discover the right artwork for the rooms of your home or office!