- La beauté sera CONVULSIVE ou ne sera pas.
- Beauty will be CONVULSIVE or not at all.
- Nadja (1928), final sentence
- "[T]his cancer of the mind which consists of thinking all too sadly that certain things 'are,' while others, which well might be, 'are not.'"
- Deuxième Manifeste du Surréalisme (Second Manifesto of Surrealism; 1930)
Le Manifeste du Surréalisme (Manifesto of Surrealism; 1924)
- I could spend my whole life prying loose the secrets of the insane. These people are honest to a fault, and their naivety has no peer but my own.
- Surrealism will usher you into death, which is a secret society.
- SURREALISM, n. Pure psychic automatism, by which one proposes to express, either verbally, or in writing, or by any other manner, the real functioning of thought. Dictation of thought in the absence of all control exercised by reason, outside of all aesthetic and moral preoccupation.
- It is living and ceasing to live that are imaginary solutions. Existence is elsewhere.
- The last two sentences of the Manifesto
- First Manifesto of Surrealism; The Abridged Dictionary of Surrealism, reprinted in Marguerite Bonnet, ed. (1988). Oeuvres complètes, 1:328. Paris: Éditions Gallimard.
Le Surréalisme et la Peinture (Surrealism and Painting; 1926)
- L'amour est toujours devant vous. Aimez.
- Love is always before you. Love it.
- L'œil existe à l'état sauvage.
- Eyes exist in the savage state.
- As we liked to do as children, , extracting from the soft forest floor the light chestnut trees only a few centimeters high at the base of which the chestnut continues to shine to the sun its clods of soil from the past, the chestnut conserving all of its presence and witnessing with its presence the power of green hands, of shadow, of airy white or pink pyramids of dances… and of future chestnuts which, under new dust, would be discovered by the marveled sight of other children. It is in this perspective that the work of Hans Arp, more than any other, should be situated. He found the most vital in himself in the secrets of this germinating life where the most minimal detail is of the greatest importance, where, on the other hand, the distinction between the elements becomes meaningless, adopting a peculiar under the rock humor permanently.
- Anthologie de l’humour noir, André Breton; as quoted in "Arp", ed. Serge Fauchereau, Ediciones Poligrafa S. A., Barcelona, Spain, 1988
- Under his (Marc Chagall, ed.) sole impulse metaphor made its triumphal entry into modern painting.
- "Chagall – a biography", Jackie Wullschlagger, Knopf, Publisher, New York 2008, text from inside-cover
- I say that the eye is not open when it is limited to the passive role of a mirror – even if the water of that mirror offers some interesting peculiarities… …that eye impresses me as no less dead than the eye of a slaughtered steer if it has only the capacity to reflect – what if it reflects the object in one or in many aspects, in repose or in motion, in waking or in dream? The treasure of the eye is elsewhere! Most artists are still for tuning around the hands of the clock… …without having the slightest concern for the spring hidden in the opaque case. The eye-spring… …Arshile Gorky – for me the first painter to whom the secret have been completely revealed.
- Introduction to the exhibition of Gorky’s first show, Julien Levy Gallery, March 1945; as quoted in “Arshile Gorky, – Goats on the roof”, ed. by Matthew Spender, Ridinghouse, London, 2009, pp. 257-258
- Truly the eye was… …made to cast a lineament, a conducting wire between the most heterogeneous things. Such a wire, of maximum ductility, should allow us to understand, in a minimum of time, the relationship which connect, without possible discharge of continuity, innumerable physical and mental structures… …the key (of the mental prison, ed.) lies in a free unlimited pay of analogies… …one can admire today a canvas signed by Gorky, “The liver is the Cock’s Comb”, which should be considered the great open door to the analogy world.
- Introduction to the exhibition of Gorky’s first show', Julien Levy Gallery’, March 1945; as quoted in “Arshile Gorky, – Goats on the roof”, ed. by Matthew Spender, Ridinghouse, London, 2009, p. 258