André Breton : sketch for an early portrait by Breton, André; Matthews, J. H.; Breton, André

By Breton, André; Matthews, J. H.; Breton, André

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But this does not explain why Picabia was praised lavishly in the 1940 Anthologie after receiving no mention at all, two years earlier, in the Dictionnaire abrégé du surréalisme, edited by Breton and Eluard. In his anthology Breton only implied the formal recognition announced nearly a quarter of a century later by one of his followers, Jean-Louis Bédouin. "1 ° It is easier to ask why André Breton did not identify the surrealist virtues of Francis Picabia's poems than to explain why he made no comment on those texts during the period when Picabian painting was exciting his interest.

No doubt we shall benefit one day from learning about the circumstances that prevented André Breton from acknowledging sooner than 1940 the special gift reflected in Picabian verse. The only indication currently available regarding Breton's attitude toward Picabia after 1927 is a comment in his 1929 Second Manifeste du surréalisme, at once a criticism and an indirect tribute. 12 All we can say for sure, at the present time, is that, having stood up and moved away from Dada to a point where he could speak with confidence and authority for surrealism, Breton realized by 1940 that Francis Picabia the poet could not be ignored without risk of undermining the importance of automatism in surrealist poetry.

446). Indeed, it was to Tzara that Breton turned for an introduction, November 8: "I have wanted for a long time to know Francis Picabia. Could you not tell him so? I like Pensées sans langage a lot and, from the bottom of my heart, I approve what you say about it" (Sanouillet, p. 452). After meeting Picabia at last, Breton reported to Tzara, January 14, 1920, "With him, there is no misunderstanding. He is perhaps, besides you, the only man to whom I speak without mental reservations" (Sanouillet, p.

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