101 Surrealists

Desmond Morris

A concise compendium of the lives and work of the 101 most significant surrealists by one of the last surviving members of the movement, bestselling author and artist Desmond Morris, who knew several of the key participants personally.

2024 marks the centennial of surrealism, one of the most influential artistic movements of the modern era. In 1924, André Breton wrote the Surrealist Manifesto, a call to arms that established surrealism as a literary and artistic movement.

Surrealism was not in origin an art movement, but a philosophical strategy. It was a way of life—a rebellion against the establishment that had given the world the hideous slaughter of World War I. Instead of trying to analyze the work of the surrealists, bestselling author and surrealist artist Desmond Morris focuses on them as people. What were their personalities, their predilections, their character strengths and flaws? Did they enjoy a social life or were they loners? Were they bold eccentrics or timid recluses?

101 Surrealists features the famous—Leonora Carrington, Marcel Duchamp, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, Frida Kahlo, René Magritte, Joan Miró, and Francis Picabia—and the overlooked: Hans Bellmer, Ithell Colquhoun, Leonor Fini, Julio González, E. L. T. Mesens, Edith Rimmington, and Kay Sage. The book draws on the author's personal knowledge of the surrealists, capturing in concise form their lives, loves, and idiosyncrasies. The arts of surrealism were both spectacular and international, shaped by the darkest, most irrational workings of the unconscious. Shocking, witty, and always entertaining, Morris's accounts illuminate the striking variation in approaches to the surrealist philosophy, both in the artists' work and in their lives. 101 Surrealists will complement Morris's earlier biographical volumes by encapsulating each artist in short, concise texts that convey with immediacy the impact and significance of each of the 101 artists featured.


Desmond Morris


Desmond Morris is one of the last surviving surrealists. His first solo exhibition was held in 1948 and in 1950 he shared his first London show with Joan Miró. He has since completed over 2,500 surrealist paintings, and eight books have been published about his work. He is the bestselling author of The Naked Ape: A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal, The Lives of the Surrealists, Postures: Body Language in Art, and The British Surrealists.