Surrealism

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Surrealism is one of the most influential art movements of the 20th century. The Surrealists explored unique ways of interpreting the world, turning to dreams and the unconscious as inspiration for a new vision. During the 1930s, the movement escaped the bounds of the radical avant-garde and transformed the wider world of design.

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Our collection illustrates how Surrealist imagery and ideas inspired designers in the fields of photography, theatre, furniture, fashion, textiles, ceramics and graphic design, and includes work by Jean Cocteau, Man Ray and Salvador Dalí among other leading Surrealists.

Collection Highlights

Evening jacket, Charles James, 1937, Paris. Museum no. T.385-1977. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Table, Méret Oppenheim, designed 1938 – 39, Paris, made 1972 – 84, Italy. Museum no. W.21-1981. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Normandie, French Railways, poster, Salvador Dali, 1969, France. Museum no. E.781-2000. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Evening coat, detail, designed by Elsa Schiaparelli and Jean Cocteau, 1937, UK. Museum no. T.59-2005. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The Lonely Metropolitan, Herbert Bayer, 1932, Germany. Museum no. CIRC.738-1968. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
A pair of champagne standard lamps, Salvador Dalí and Edward James, 1938 – 39, England. Museum no. xxxx
Mainbocher Corset (pink satin corset by Detolle), Paris, 1939. © Condé Nast/Horst Estate
Mae West Lips sofa, Salvador Dalí and Edward James, 1938 – 39, England. Museum no. W.6-2018. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Eléctricité, Man Ray, 1931, France. Museum no. E.1653-2001. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Beste Elenique, furnishing fabric, Salvador Dali, 1954, US. Museum no. CIRC.151-1954. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Shoe hat, Elsa Schiaparelli, 1937 – 8, France. Museum no. T.2-2009. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Features

Background image: Mae West Lips sofa, Salvador Dalí and Edward James, 1938 – 39, England. Museum no. W.6-2018. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London