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BALTIMORE, MD – The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) presents the first major exhibition to examine how 20th-century European and American Surrealist artists used monsters and mythic figures to depict their experiences of war, violence, and exile. Monsters & Myths: Surrealism and War in the 1930s and 1940s includes 90 works by Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, André Masson, Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, Dorothea Tanning, and others who responded to the rise of Hitler and the spread of Fascism by creating some of the most compelling images of the Surrealist movement. On view in Baltimore February 24–May 26, 2019, this ticketed exhibition is co-organized by the BMA and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

During the pivotal years between the world wars, European and American avant-garde artists were affected by the political turmoil of the Spanish Civil War and World War II and many sought refuge in other countries. Monstros­ities in the real world bred monsters in paintings and sculpture, on film, and in the pages of journals and artists’ books. Exhibition highlights include Picasso’s Minotauromachy (1935), Dalí’s Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War) (1936), Ernst’s Europe After the Rain II (1940–42), and Masson’s There Is No Finished World (1942). Among the works by American artists responding to the war are Rothko’s The Syrian Bull (1943) and Tanning’s The Temptation of Saint Anthony (1945-46). The exhibition concludes with two films: Un Chien Andalou (1929) by Luis Buñuel and Dalí and Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) by Maya Deren.

Both the BMA and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art were at the forefront of promoting Surrealist art in the United States. The Wadsworth presented the first U.S. exhibition of Surrealist art in 1931. One of the BMA’s most generous donors, Saidie Adler May, collected works by Surrealist and other European and American avant-garde artists and gave many of them to the museum. She also provided the funds to rescue artist André Masson and his family from Nazi-occupied France in May 1941. Six months later, the BMA presented the first U.S. retrospective of Masson’s work, which opened on October 31, 1941, and catapulted Masson’s career.

Monsters & Myths: Surrealism and War in the 1930s and 1940s is co-organized by The Baltimore Museum of Art and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut. The Baltimore presentation is curated by Associate Curator of European Painting and Sculpture Oliver Shell.

This exhibition and related programs have been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and by generous funding from Transamerica, The Alvin and Fanny B. Thalheimer Exhibition Endowment Fund, and The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

Tickets are available through Prices are $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, $12 for groups of 7 or more, $10 for students with ID, and $5 for youth ages 7–18. BMA Members and children age 6 and under are admitted free. For more information, call 443-573-1701.

Salvador Dalí. Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War). 1936. The Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Louise and Walter Annenberg Collection. © Salvador Dali, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.