The collection of 255 works of arts and other objects are from Breton’s apartment on rue Fontaine in the 9e arrondissement where he lived from 1922 until his death in 1966. Some of the items include Pacific Islander, North American, and Pre-Colombian masks and objects, found objects such as stones, roots, and a glass case of butterflies as well as pieces from Picasso, Miro, Giacometti, Picabia, and Duchamp.
A plaque explained that his collection of found objects illustrates “un irrésistible besoin de possession, qu’il attribuait au désir de s’approprier les pouvoirs des objets.”
Upon viewing the collection of curios that appear to have tribal or occult origins, I am reminded of a quote from Nadja:
“I have taken Nadja, from the first day to the last, for a free genius, something like one of those spirits of the air which certain magical practices momentarily permit us to entertain but which we can never overcome.” (111)
Attracted to Nadja’s enigmatic, otherworldly qualities, Breton brought Nadja into his life in the same way that he accumulated “des pièces en resonnance avec sa poetique de ‘l’oeil à l’état sauvage, oeil premier, libre de toute entrave.'” (qtd. from museum plaque)
I also included two “Cadavre Exquis” drawing exercises that were in Breton’s collection.
Here are two videos, one that was playing alongside the exhibition and another one (poorer quality) that shows how the collection was composed in Breton’s apartment at rue Fontaine.
L’OEIL A L’ETAT SAUVAGE. L’atelier d’Andre Breton. Un film de FABRICE MAZE. 1994.