• fondation pierre arnaud lens art valais tony saulnier The Headhunters’ Dinner paris-match 1519

    Tony Saulnier (1926-1968) À Paris, rue Jacob, le dîner des collectionneurs de têtes (The Headhunters’ Dinner), 1966 Photomechanical reproduction published in “L’art nègre,” Paris Match (May 21, 1966)

    1 / 14
  • fondation pierre arnaud lens art valais sébastien crettaz 1520
    Fondation Pierre Arnaud 2014 ©Sebastien Crettaz 2 / 14
  • fondation pierre arnaud lens art valais victor brayer  L.L.L two women dancer one head 1521

    Victor BRAUNER (1903-1966), L.L.L (Two Women Dancing with One Head), 1945. Private collection © Maurice Aeschimann, Geneva; 2014, Prolitteris Zurich

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  • fondation pierre arnaud lens art valais sébastien crettaz 1522
    Fondation Pierre Arnaud 2014 ©Sebastien Crettaz 4 / 14
  • fondation pierre arnaud lens art valais max ernst forest sun 1523

    Max Ernst (1891-1976), Forest and Sun, ca. 1935. Private collection © François Bertin, Grandvaux; 2014, Prolitteris Zurich

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  • fondation pierre arnaud lens art valais sébastien crettaz 1524
    Fondation Pierre Arnaud 2014 ©Sebastien Crettaz 6 / 14
  • fondation pierre arnaud lens art valais yves laloy peas green goldfish musée des beaux-arts rennes 1525

    Yves LALOY (1920-1999), The Peas Are Green ... The Little Goldfish), 1959 © Musée des beaux-arts de Rennes; 2014, Prolitteris Zurich

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  • fondation pierre arnaud lens art valais sébastien crettaz 1526
    Fondation Pierre Arnaud 2014 ©Sebastien Crettaz 8 / 14
  • fondation pierre arnaud lens art valais wifredo lam untitled 1527

    Wifredo LAM (1902-1982), Untitled, 1967. Private collection © archives Wifredo Lam; 2014, Prolitteris Zurich

    9 / 14
  • fondation pierre arnaud lens art valais ceremonial mask goli baule people tropenmuseum 1528

    Ceremonial mask for Goli, Baule people (Ivory Coast), before 1963 © Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam

    10 / 14
  • fondation pierre arnaud lens art valais meret oppenheim portrait tattoos 1529

    Meret OPPENHEIM (1913-1985), Portrait with tattoos 1980. Private collection, Bern© © 2014, Prolitteris, Zurich

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  • fondation pierre arnaud lens art valais andré breton wall sabine weiss 1530

    André Breton posing in front of his “wall”, 1955 © Sabine Weiss, Paris

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  • fondation pierre arnaud lens art valais mask kifwebe museum der kulturen basel 1531

    Mask Kifwebe (Democratic Republic of Congo), Museum der Kulturen, Basel © Hans Weber

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  • fondation pierre arnaud lens art valais analogies on situ sanchez 1564
    Analogie(s) On-Situ/ Jean-Michel Sanchez 14 / 14

Surrealism and Non-Western Art

A Family Resemblance

June 13, 2014 — October 5, 2014

‘Primitive’ arts fascinated early twentieth-century Western artists. The Fauves and the Cubists were the first to fall under the spell of African art. They found a fresh sense of boldness and freedom that was to inspire their own artistic approach.

The following generation, the Surrealists, were deeply shocked by the horrors of the First World War that swept away Western values in its path. They had to heal the wounds, rebuild the world as well as invent a different, revolutionary new art both in form and in the topics it addressed. The Surrealists sought to create an ‘Other’ art form which they found within themselves, delving into their dreams and the meanders of the human soul that were just being unveiled by psychology.

But Otherness is also synonymous with elsewhere. Several of the Surrealist painters such as André Breton were lovers of non-Western art and collected Oceanic, African, Mayan and Inuit artefacts. With their original shapes, enigmatic symbols, mysterious ritual functions and pure lines, the ‘primitive’ works fascinated the artists and gave new momentum to their own creations.

The exhibition shows how the Sur- realists drew on the treasures of non- Western art without ever lapsing into repetition or slavish imitation. Masks, everyday objects and architectural elements provided the fertile subsoil they needed for their art and boosted their audacity to disrupt the established standards of the time and break down social taboos.

  • "Analogie(s)", On-Situ, Jean-Michel Sanchez 1 / 3
  • Exhibition opening "Surrealism and Non-Western Art : a Family Resemblance" 2 / 3
  • Exhibition teaser "Surrealism and Non-Western Art : a Family Resemblance" 3 / 3
  • Fondation Pierre Arnaud 2014 © Sebastien Crettaz 1 / 8
  • Fondation Pierre Arnaud 2014 © Sebastien Crettaz 2 / 8
  • Fondation Pierre Arnaud 2014 © Sebastien Crettaz 3 / 8
  • Fondation Pierre Arnaud 2014 © Sebastien Crettaz 4 / 8
  • Fondation Pierre Arnaud 2014 © Sebastien Crettaz 5 / 8
  • Fondation Pierre Arnaud 2014 © Sebastien Crettaz 6 / 8
  • Fondation Pierre Arnaud 2014 © Sebastien Crettaz 7 / 8
  • Fondation Pierre Arnaud 2014 © Sebastien Crettaz 8 / 8

The Catalogue

The Pierre Arnaud Foundation develops a research policy that aims to highlight interesting and sometimes unusual aspects of art history and anthropology. The Foundation calls on well-known specialists to prepare its exhibitions and catalogues and sets up a specific scientific committee for each event.  

Exhibition catalogues are published in three languages: French, German and English. Produced by the Hatje/Cantz and FAVRE Editions publishing house, they are distributed internationally. Designed as an iconic book-object conveying the spirit of the Pierre Arnaud Foundation, the catalogue combines high-level scientific content with a refined graphic identity and a particularly handy format. 

Surrealism and non-Western art: A Family Resemblance – Summer 1

The Foundation is inaugurating its cycle of summer exhibitions with ‘Surrealism and non-Western Art’. It is designed around the drive to open up a dialogue between Western art and non-European cultures. Each civilization creates its own art as the vector of unique values and meanings. It is this encounter or the confrontation between two artistic cultures which is so fertile and meaningful. 

Produced and distributed internationally by the publisher Hatje Cantzthe exhibition catalogue provides a rich source for reflection on the subject of Surrealism and its links with non-Western art. In keeping with the Pierre Arnaud Foundation’s ambitious editorial policy, authorship of articles was entrusted to leading international specialists whose different approaches enhance each other. Enjoyable to read, richly illustrated and scientifically rigorous, it is intended for simple art-lovers as well as more demanding enthusiasts. 

  • Surrealism and Non-Western Art, A Family Resemblance

    Obtainable by the Foundation, CHF 20.-

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  • Surrealism and Non-Western Art, A Family Resemblance

    Obtainable by the Foundation, CHF 20.-

    2 / 17
  • Surrealism and Non-Western Art, A Family Resemblance

    Obtainable by the Foundation, CHF 20.-

    3 / 17
  • Surrealism and Non-Western Art, A Family Resemblance

    Obtainable by the Foundation, CHF 20.-

    4 / 17
  • Surrealism and Non-Western Art, A Family Resemblance

    Obtainable by the Foundation, CHF 20.-

    5 / 17
  • Surrealism and Non-Western Art, A Family Resemblance

    Obtainable by the Foundation, CHF 20.-

    6 / 17
  • Surrealism and Non-Western Art, A Family Resemblance

    Obtainable by the Foundation, CHF 20.-

    7 / 17
  • Surrealism and Non-Western Art, A Family Resemblance

    Obtainable by the Foundation, CHF 20.-

    8 / 17
  • Surrealism and Non-Western Art, A Family Resemblance

    Obtainable by the Foundation, CHF 20.-

    9 / 17
  • Surrealism and Non-Western Art, A Family Resemblance

    Obtainable by the Foundation, CHF 20.-

    10 / 17
  • Surrealism and Non-Western Art, A Family Resemblance

    Obtainable by the Foundation, CHF 20.-

    11 / 17
  • Surrealism and Non-Western Art, A Family Resemblance

    Obtainable by the Foundation, CHF 20.-

    12 / 17
  • Surrealism and Non-Western Art, A Family Resemblance

    Obtainable by the Foundation, CHF 20.-

    13 / 17
  • Surrealism and Non-Western Art, A Family Resemblance

    Obtainable by the Foundation, CHF 20.-

    14 / 17
  • Surrealism and Non-Western Art, A Family Resemblance

    Obtainable by the Foundation, CHF 20.-

    15 / 17
  • Surrealism and Non-Western Art, A Family Resemblance

    Obtainable by the Foundation, CHF 20.-

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  • Surrealism and Non-Western Art, A Family Resemblance

    Obtainable by the Foundation, CHF 20.-

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Hatje Cantz. 2014. 180 x 240 mm, 336 pages, 344 illustrations. Softcover

ISBN 978-3-7757-3760-9

CHF. 20.—

Order by E-mail (plus postage)


Scientific Comittee

Composed of nationally and internationally well-known specialists, the Scientific Committee advises the Pierre Arnaud Foundation’s various organs on their scientific and museological plans, more particularly regarding the conception of exhibitions and other cultural events. A specific panel is set up for each event.

  • Christophe Flubacher, curator
  • Valentine Plisnier, assistant curator
  • Werner Spies, former director of MNAM, Paris 
  • Sophie Leclercq, doctor of cultural history
  • Suzanne Nouhaud-Duco, doctor of art history
  • Anna Schmid, director of the Museum der Kulturen, Basel


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      Tel : 027 483 46 10
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