Perfect Surrealist Behavior
October 11, 2014 – January 4, 2015
Please Help Support This Project
To help offset the costs relating to the Malkine exhibition and catalogue, donations can be made online to the “Malkine Project” at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum in Woodstock, NY, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. For online donations, click here and type “Malkine Project” in the designated field in the blue section. Donations can also be mailed to WAAM, Attn: Malkine Project, 28 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY 12498. For further information about donations, please contact the WAAM at 845-679-2940. All donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.
Georges Malkine (1898-1970) is known to art history for one fact alone: he is the only visual artist named by André Breton’s 1924 Manifesto of Surrealism as a founding member of the Surrealists, originally a literary movement. Important though this is, it is a very small part of the picture. Malkine’s work hung at the inaugural Surrealist exhibitions in Paris from 1925-1928 alongside that of Max Ernst, Joan Miro, and Man Ray. His first solo exhibition in 1927 was nothing short of an artistic coup, with sales to collectors including Nancy Cunard and John Maynard Keynes. Malkine counted André Masson, Robert Desnos, Louis Aragon, E.E. Cummings, and Pablo Picasso among his friends. An innovator in Surrealist techniques, Malkine painted abstractions before a word existed to describe them and commingled eerie landscapes and visual puns, academic realism and absolute fantasy in ways that would become the hallmarks of better-known contemporaries like Yves Tanguy and Salvador Dali.
But instead of reaping the benefits of his 1927 success, Malkine skipped town. He abandoned painting and drifted, developing an opium dependency which lasted until the end of World War II. He worked multiple odd jobs and for 10 years as a film actor, then arrived on American shores in 1948. Malkine lived in Woodstock from 1953-1966, where he took up painting again with greater intensity than he had in the 1920s. His surprise return to Paris in 1966 met with a retrospective exhibition organized by Ernst, Masson, and other luminaries of Surrealism, many of whom had presumed him dead. This presumption was not without the reclusive Malkine’s complicity. His calculated refusal to assign himself a place in history included an unshakeable disdain for personal promotion, which late in life he put thus: “I did everything I could to escape the attention of my contemporaries.” More aggressively self-effacing, Malkine even set flame, twice, to whatever work he had on hand.
Over 200 of Malkine’s seductively enigmatic paintings have been preserved in collections in the U.S. and Europe. Seven of them were part of the headline-making dispersal at auction of André Breton’s collection—more than 5,000 paintings, drawings, manuscripts, and Surrealist objets d’art—in 2003. A 1999 retrospective at the Pavillon des arts in Paris, Georges Malkine: Le Vagabond du surréalisme, revealed a strong scholarly interest in his work. Opening October 11, 2014, the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum’s Georges Malkine: Perfect Surrealist Behavior will feature over forty paintings and drawings by Malkine, as well as photographs, letters, and a full-color monograph and catalogue. Given the forward-thinking inventiveness of his paintings, the intellectual vigor of his writings, and his friendships and connections, this exhibition aims to situate Malkine as a key player in critical examinations of Surrealism.
Publication (Woodstock Artists Association & Museum)
Georges Malkine: Perfect Surrealist Behavior
The accompanying monograph and catalogue will be the first book-length publication on Malkine in English. It will include:
• 8 chapters by the exhibition curator, approx. 45,000 words
• a timeline by the artist’s daughter, whose research on Malkine includes personal interviews with Louis Aragon, André Masson, Patrick Waldberg, Marcel Duhamel, and Simone Collinet, first wife of André Breton
• 40+ catalogue entries of works in the exhibition
• appendices including a translation of one of Malkine’s important writings, a glossary of key players in the Surrealist movement, and a listing of the Surrealist tracts and open letters signed by the artist
Proposed specs: over 100 full-color illustration, 81/2 x 10”, softcover, perfect bind, 224 pages
Derin Tanyol, Ph.D., Guest Curator. Tanyol is a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, a Bourse Chateaubriand, and a Samuel H. Kress Two-Year Fellowship for Research Abroad. Her original specialization is in nineteenth-century French painting, but in recent years she turned her interests to the Woodstock Art Colony.
Fern Malkine-Falvey, M.A., daughter of Georges Malkine. Malkine-Falvey maintains a remarkable archive comprised of her father’s drawings, journals, and correspondence. Also included are photographs, press from the 1920s through the 1960s, and a library of Surrealist literature.
Josephine Bloodgood, Former Executive Director and Curator of the Permanent Collection, Woodstock Artists Association and Museum
Vincent Gille, Director, Musée Victor Hugo. Malkine specialist, Curator of Georges Malkine: Le Vagabond du surréalisme, Pavillon des Arts, Paris, 1999