Despite the history of Surrealism being written in French, Spain's role in the movement is significant. Salvador Dalí, Luis Buñuel, Óscar Domínguez, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso are some of the most representative artists from the Spanish side. Even though a large part of their work is produced outside of Spain, the nationality of the group is key to causing the active reception of the movement inside Spain and the development of a particular set of characteristics.
Owing to the pertinent exhibition Surrealism in Spain, organised by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, the Museo's Biblioteca (Library) holds a parallel exhibition of over one hundred documents, belonging to its collections, related to the Surrealist editorial output.
This exhibit displays documents produced both inside and outside Spain, with the participation of Spanish artists crucial. There are also others, which, although dissociated from these artists, are vital for contextualising the exhibition as a whole. It includes writings by André Breton, which include Manifeste du Surréalisme: Poisson soluble (1924), Le Surréalisme et la peinture (1928) and Pour un art révolutionnaire indépendant (1938).
Other exhibited documents include pamphlets and manifestos such as L’Affaire de “L’Age d’or” (1931), signed by the likes of Bretón, Louis Aragon, René Char, Yves Tanguy, Salvador Dalí and Paul Éluard. There is also Du temps que les surrealistes avaient raison (1935), signed by Bretón, Oscar Domínguez, Max Ernst, Dora Maar, René Magritte, Man Ray and Meret Oppenheim, among others. The proclamation Au FEU! (1931), signed by Bretón, René Crevel, Benjamin Péret, Pierre Unik and Georges Sadoul also stands out as they come together in support of the burning down of churches by young Spanish revolutionaries.
Among the books displayed in the exhibition there are El Perro Andaluz: Guión cinematográfico (1947), signed by Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel in the translation by Arturo Serrano Plaja; Nuits partagées (1935) by Paul Éluard, signed by the editor and with drawings by Salvador Dalí; the manuscript Paloma por dentro o sea la mano de vidrio (1934), by Federico García Lorca; La sangre en libertad (1931), by José María Hinojosa with illustrations by José Moreno Villa and Ángel Planells; Willi Baumeister (1934) by Eduardo Westerdahl with a cover by Óscar Domínguez and a dedication by the author, and finally, Naufragio en tres cuerdas de guitarra (1928) by Rogelio Buendía, with illustrations by Salvador Dalí, among others.
This exhibition also features an invitation to a private showing of L' Age d' Or (1931) by Luis Buñuel, appearing alongside twenty or so exhibition catalogues such as Le Surréalisme, which took place in 1947 in the Maeght Gallery in Paris, and which has its own special section in the exhibit. It is concluded with correspondence belonging to Breton, for instance the letters to Eduardo Westerdahl (1936), to Joan Miró (1929) and to Eugenio Granell (1953) as well as the letter by Salvador Dalí to Federico García Lorca (1928).
A precedent to this exhibition is Surrealist Writings, which took place in the same space in the Biblioteca at the beginning of 1994 and examined the Surrealist publications from Spain, France and Latin America.