Curated by Grazina Subelyte, Associate Curator, Peggy Guggenheim Collection

Peggy Guggenheim Collection, April 9–September 26, 2022
Museum Barberini, Potsdam, October 22, 2022–January 29, 2023

Like no other 20th-century movement, Surrealism was keenly inspired by tropes of magic, myth and the occult. In their engagement with the irrational and the unconscious, numerous of its members looked to magic as a poetic and deeply philosophical discourse, related to both arcane knowledge and individual self-empowerment. Over the past two decades, various studies have considerably expanded our appreciation of magic as a key aspect of the activity of the Surrealist group. In their works, the artists associated with the movement heavily drew on esoteric symbols and cultivated the image of the artist as an alchemist, magician, and visionary.

This exhibition explores the myriad ways, in which magic and the occult informed the development of Surrealism in international perspective, tracing its artistic trajectory from the “metaphysical paintings” of Giorgio de Chirico through to the politically contentious climate of the postwar years.

Amongst the many fascinating artists included in the exhibition are Victor Brauner, Leonora Carrington, Salvador Dalí, Paul Delvaux, Maya Deren, Max Ernst, Leonor Fini, René Magritte, Roberto Matta, Wolfgang Paalen, Kay Sage, Kurt Seligmann, Yves Tanguy, Dorothea Tanning, and Remedios Varo.


Max Ernst (1891–1976)
Attirement of the Bride (La Toilette de la mariée), 1940
Oil on canvas, 129.6 x 96.3 cm
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York)
76.2553 PG 78

Leonor Fini (1907–1996)
The Shepherdess of the Sphinxes, 1941
Oil on canvas, 46.2 x 38.2 cm
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York)
76.2553 PG 118

Victor Brauner (1903–1966)
The Surrealist (Le Surréaliste), 1947
Oil on canvas, 60 x 45 cm
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York)
76.2553 PG 111

The exhibition is organized by the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, and the Museum Barberini, Potsdam.

The exhibition is made possible thanks to Manitou Fund.

The exhibition programs of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection are supported by the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Advisory Board. The educational programs in conjunction with the exhibition are funded by the Fondazione Araldi Guinetti, Vaduz. The exhibitions at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection are made possible by the Institutional Patrons, EFG, Lavazza, Sanlorenzo and by the Guggenheim Intrapresæ.

With the support of

The exhibition is made possible by
  • Allegrini + Apice + Arper + Eurofood + Florim + Gruppo Campari + Hangar Design Group + Istituto Europeo di Design + Mapei + René Caovilla + Rubelli + Swatch