Beyond Realism brings together some of the finest examples of Dada and Surrealist art from the National Galleries of Scotland’s collection, featuring works by artists such as Leonora Carrington, Salvador Dalí and René Magritte. This expanded display provides an opportunity to view our world-famous collection in greater depth.
With over 40 works by 17 artists, Beyond Realism explores the two principal forms of Surrealist work. The first form is unpremeditated art that relies upon chance effects such as random mark-making and scraping – the type of work practiced by artists like Joan Miró (1893-1983). The second form is the creation of apparently irrational images that occurred to the mind, particularly in dreams, in a realistic style. This route was favoured by artists like Toyen (1902-1980) and Paul Delvaux (1897-1994). Other artists like Max Ernst (1891-1976) combined both approaches in their work.
The National Galleries of Scotland’s holdings of Dada and Surrealism were transformed in 1995, with the acquisition of part of the celebrated collection formed by the Surrealist artist Roland Penrose; a few months later came the bequest of Gabrielle Keiller’s magnificent collection of Dada and Surrealist art and her library of rare books and archival material. The addition of the Penrose and Keiller holdings made the Gallery’s collection of Surrealism into one of the best in the world. We have recently made several major acquisitions of works by Leonora Carrington, Salvador Dalí, René Magritte and Toyen, thanks to support from the Henry and Sula Walton Fund, the Art Fund and the Estate of Drue Heinz.
Beyond Realism | Dada and Surrealism acts as a brilliant accompaniment to the major summer exhibition Cut and Paste | 400 Years of Collage, providing insight into the time and place which formed the backdrop for so many experimental collage works of the early 20th century.