London International Surrealist Exhibition

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The International Surrealist Exhibition was held from 11 June to 4 July 1936 at the New Burlington Galleries in London, England.

The exhibition was organised by:

The French organising committee were

The exhibition was opened in the presence of about two thousand people by André Breton. The average attendance for the whole of the Exhibition was about a thousand people per day.

During the course of the Exhibition, the following lectures were delivered to large audiences:

  • June 16 — André Breton — Limites non-frontières du Surréalisme.
  • June 19 — Herbert Read — Art and the Unconscious.
  • June 24 — Paul Éluard — La Poésie surréaliste.
  • June 26 — Hugh Sykes Davies — Biology and Surrealism.
  • July 1 — Salvador Dalí — Fantômes paranoïaques authentiques.

Dalí's lecture was delivered whilst wearing a deep-sea diving suit. Nearly suffocating during the presentation, Dalí had to be rescued by the young poet David Gascoyne, who arrived with a spanner to release him from the diving helmet.

Danish painter Wilhelm Freddie's entries never made it to the exhibition, since they were confiscated by the British Customs for being considered pornographic. According to ruling law the works had to be destroyed, but this was prevented at the last minute and they were despatched back to Denmark.


  • International Surrealist Bulletin, Number 4, September 1936.

Coordinates: 51°30′35″N 0°08′28″W / 51.50972°N 0.14111°W / 51.50972; -0.14111